Arendse bats for Bok coach

Cricket SA president Norman Arendse says Peter de Villiers’s commitment to transformation cannot be questioned.

The Bok coach was this week slammed by Cedrick Frolick, vice-chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee for sport, for including only four players of colour in his starting XV for Saturday’s match against the All Blacks. Frolick questioned the selections of white players Fourie du Preez and Percy Montgomery ahead of black players Ricky Januarie and Conrad Jantjes.

However, Arendse, who last season refused to sign off a Proteas squad because it didn’t have enough players of colour, says politicians should give De Villiers a break.

“One has to be pragmatic in his position as the coach of the national rugby team,” Arendse told News24. “Peter has shown that he is wholly committed to the process of transformation and if he decides on a certain permutation for a specific match one cannot then question his commitment.

“We’ve seen since the outset of Peter’s tenure as the national coach that he has created a climate on the rugby landscape for black talents to develop, and one just has to recall who was included in his first Springbok training group.

“After a few months now Peter has significantly increased the pool of black talent that can do South African rugby proud and his efforts must be commended. Peter has the delicate task of balancing results and transformation and no one can fault him on this score.”

Arendse said he hoped the South Africans at Newlands would all be behind the Boks.