I thought I’d create a thread for South African quotas because whenever the “decline” of SA rugby comes up, the issue of quotas is raised, even by those not from South Africa and in all manner of threads that aren’t even really about South African rugby. Such is the passion the topic stirs. This issue appears to completely dominate other arguments that might explain a relative poor patch for SA. Yes, they progressed far in the last RWC, but few would argue they were a great side in that tournament, with what was a very white dominated team. So I’d get the ball rolling with the following and provide factual information and quotes from a perspective that doesn't seem to get much of an airing in these parts. Quotas in South African Rugby – fact or fiction? There is massive speculation on the internet about it. Is it 7 players out of the 23 must be non-white? Is it 50% of the team by 2019 must be non-white? How many of the non-white must be black etc? Is it horrible and racist? Is it wonderful and spreading social cohesion? In doing further research on this topic something striking came to mind. Quotas may not actually exist in South African rugby. In fact, at international level at least they don’t. There is a world of difference between a target and a quota. Quotas must be met whereas targets might not be met (or might be exceeded). You might have a target to reduce the number of casualties in car crashes, or reduce waiting times for operations at hospitals or to have a rugby side that is not so unrepresentative of the ethnic makeup of the country. When is a quota not a quota? When it's a target “Allister has been asked to have 50% black players in his squad by 2019, a rule that already applies to national junior teams. It’s a target and you won’t get rapped over the fingers if you don’t meet it; there are going to be exceptions, but the government and SARU want to see a genuine willingness to give non-white players the opportunity to play.” http://www.rugbyworld.com/countries/south-africa-countries/south-africa-needs-allister-coetzee-58418 ANC says quotas are "counter-productive" What we have in South Africa is targets, an aspiration to move towards greater representation of non-white players in South Africa and to have rugby engage more widely across different communities. But don’t take my word for it. Take the word of the South African Sports Minister, just three months ago in June 2016. “We must acknowledge that quotas don’t help, they’re counter-productive,’ he added. ‘If you select someone as a quota player, it’s an insult. How can you participate in a national team if you’re not there on merit? But we’ve got to go down to get this talent that we have in abundance, and bring it to the fore. Merit is not dissociated with transformation. I don’t want quotas, I don’t want the targets to be met in that way just to make the minister happy. It’s about an integrated society and going through a process to get the national teams to where they should be.” http://www.planetrugby.com/news/quotas-not-the-answer-sa-sports-minister/ Well, he is ANC, he would say that wouldn’t he? What about the CEO of SARU in February 2015. SARU say, it is "not a quota system" “SARU CEO Jurie Roux stressed at a news conference in Cape Town that the "Strategic Transformation Plan" was not a quota system, but said he was confident the targets would be reached. "It's not just about numbers on the field", he said, pointing to plans for expanding black participation at all levels of the game. "We know that we are only judged on representation in the Springbok team," a reference to government pressure for racial transformation. "We understand that, and we also understand that it is also unfair to put that pressure on the Springbok coach without offering him any assistance - his teams can only reflect what is going on at the elite end of the domestic game."” http://en.espn.co.uk/southafrica/rugby/story/257457.html Springbok sides clearly not adhering to any kind of quota Still not convinced you? How about looking at the last SA rugby test side vs NZ last week. South Africa: 15 Johan Goosen, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Jaco Kriel, 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Damian de Allende There certainly isn’t 50% non-white there. I count six? Regardless, as soon as the number falls below 7 out of the 23, then we know that quotas are not in place with the South African international side. It couldn't be plainer. There are no sanctions against AC just as there were no sanctions against the Springboks at the RWC when the side was overwhelmingly white. It is targets. It is players selected on ability combined with an effort to expand the take-up of the game within South Africa. It is done with honourable intentions. Conclusion So we can all relax, acknowledge that rugby in South Africa faces all manner of issues in terms of the quality of their players and coaching (both white and non-white), tune into the Rugby Championship and resume loving or hating the Springboks on purely sporting grounds. Hallelujah! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Update: 27/09/2016 Quotas in Super Rugby? I focus on the international side because it is the one that is easiest to observe. So I took my search elsewhere to see if I could find solid evidence of specific quotas (rather than targets). I have read comments that the Lions have very limited numbers of "non-white" players too, indicating perhaps that quotas are also not in place in Super Rugby and that player selection there is based on merit. Summed up neatly by this headline: http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/opinion...e-messy-period "That's simply because, under the push for transformation, they do not have enough players of colour; just three in the starting side and one on the bench (13 per cent of the 23 man squad) that rolled the Highlanders last week."