So prop Trevor Nyakane is only good enough for the Bok bench? What else can one surmise given that Lions tighthead Ruan Dreyer has leapfrogged Nyakane to start against the All Blacks in Albany on Saturday?
Perhaps it’s just a case of a Bok stalwart returning to take his rightful place in the team… Not so much. Dreyer has precisely 54 minutes of Test match experience to call on!
It is this kind of nonsense that gives transformation a bum rap.
“Ruan did well against a powerful French front row in June, and he will start on Saturday because we want to persist with Trevor Nyakane and Steven Kitshoff as a combination off the bench to make an impact in the second half,” said Bok coach Allister Coetzee.
This was way down in the press release after a big splash about Franco Mostert rotating back into the side and Jean-Luc du Preez replacing the injured Jaco Kriel.
And Coetzee’s reasoning only holds water if he had actually used both players off the bench. Nyakane has had 38 minutes of game time in three Rugby Champs Test matches, four of them against the Australians last week. Kitshoff has 80 minutes to his name, 26 of which were last week.
This makes me angry. No one’s allowed to talk about transformation, but the Bok coach is allowed to get away with this!?
All it does is fuel the belief that Nyakane’s involvement in the squad is window dressing. The man has been on the bench for all three Rugby Champs games having achieved the fitness goals asked of him. Give him the start he deserves when the opportunity presents itself!
I am all for picking on merit, and merit alone. But SA Rugby made the decision to guarantee a Bok side that is 50% representative at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, so let’s give it our best shot.
Would I be confident in Nyakane starting at tighthead against the All Blacks? Not really. He is a retreaded loosehead who struggles to hold his own, let alone dominate, at tighthead at Super Rugby level.
But we have now made the call to select him, so we now need to back that selection, and the player.
Otherwise it’s all one big charade. A charade we are not allowed to talk about.