“We have a shrinking white and coloured population, and if we want to be relevant in 2030, we need to embrace transformation,” says SA Rugby president Mark Alexander. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – South African Rugby Union president Mark Alexander has defended Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, saying the entire controversy surrounding his comments on transformation was making “a mountain out of a molehill”.

Alexander defended Saru’s transformation policy as well, and reiterated his view that there “are no quota players” in the Springbok team, in an interview in the Afrikaans Rapport newspaper.

“Siya said something in his private capacity and people need to look at what he said in totality. People listened to a small part and made up their minds,” Alexander said.

Kolisi made the comments to a Japanese newspaper when he said former President Nelson Mandela would not have supported a quota system in rugby, and that he didn’t want to be chosen because of the colour of his skin.

This provoked a massive backlash on social media and in newspaper columns as fans and pundits disagreed with him.

“Saru doesn’t have quotas,” Alexander added. “We are working towards transformation targets that are important for the survival of South African rugby.

“We have a shrinking white and coloured population, and if we want to be relevant in 2030, we need to embrace transformation.”

Alexander said there is not one player currently in the Bok team that is selected because he is a quota player.

“There is not one player in the Springbok team because he is black,” Alexander added. “Everyone deserves to be there, and have proved themselves over and over again. Just look who scores the tries.”

Alexander said there were forces trying to sew disunity in South Africa that had a problem with Kolisi, the first black captain of the Springboks.

“There are certain people who have had a problem with Siya for a long time,” he said. “Last year, there were reports he would be dropped from the team, or lose his captaincy. That was fake news.

“People are trying to sow racial disharmony in this country. Siya knows where he stands and what needs to be done.”

African News Agency (ANA)