The most heartbreaking thing for me is that I had counted on Allister to have backbone in his facilitating the emergence of black players. The Springbok coach, by virtue of his position, is the arbiter-in-chief and thus the pied piper of public opinion on a players to a large extent. Allister had/has the opportunity to make significant strides in changing the prevalent mistrust in black talent – the assumption of black incompetence until proven otherwise.
I made the point on an interview on Power FM a few months ago that there is no shortage of black talent and that what separates them is opportunities. If you back the black kids they’ll produce results for you. AC won the Currie Cup with a team that consistently started 7 black players, then he repeated the feat by topping the SA conference in Super Rugby with a 50-odd% transformed team.
That, above all else was the pillar that held up our argument for his suitability for Bok coach. I was of the firm belief that even if his results weren’t flash, he’d do the Bok job “his way” and put black talent on display at the highest level. He started today’s test, and EOYT test against a high-flying England who were overwhelming favourites (meaning that the pressure was on England, not him) he picked a team like a coach who is trying to save his job instead of using this tour as a mining expedition.
Frankly, whoever Allister’s close counsel is has let him down. He’s done this completely wrong. He should have used every platform available to him to drive the narrative of this being a rebuilding period especially considering his late appointment and compromised preparation. He should NEVER have called the likes of Alberts and JP and instead used this tour to introduce AND BACK young black players who show the potential to be world class, and pushed that story on the public in order to dilute the impact of results on the lay opinion and alleviate the pressure on the players. Instead, he picks 3 black players in his starting XV (De Allende doesn’t count) and 3 on the bench.
Then he compounds the insult by putting Carr, Mbonambi, and Mapoe on at 68min, 70min, and 77min respectively. I’m actually getting emotional I’m so upset. This dude is doing things that we would have crucified Heyneke for. I can’t say it publicly yet, but I’m done with Allister.
Opinion Post by Chulumanco Macingwane