Springbok head coach Peter de Villiers has faced severe criticism regarding his most recent team selection on two separate fronts.
As if being criticised about the merits of his individual selections for Saturday’s clash with the All Blacks wasn’t enough, de Villiers has also come under pressure for supposedly selecting too many white players for the Boks’ first home match of this year’s Tri Nations.
The criticism has come from within the South African government itself, with the vice-chairperson of the parliamentary sport portfolio committee Cedrick Frolick questioning the direction in which the national game is moving.
"This creates questions about where we are heading," said Frolick.
"I know Peter wants to win the Tri-Nations but he must realise he will be measured according to his ability to transform the team and to make it representative of the country’s population for the 2011 World Cup.”
The issue of transformation, in which a certain number of black and coloured players had to be included in national squads, has long been a contentious one but de Villiers is now under no obligation to pick players of any race. However, Frolick has made it clear that he expects de Villiers to move the game in a new direction over the next three years.
"We cannot repeat the cycle of the (Jake) White era. We must build for 2011,” Frolick reiterated.
"It is easy to fall into a comfort zone. Peter should be reminded of his mandate.
"It’s not all about transformation but it (transformation) is an important part of it. Not one black player has let South Africa down this year.
"We have also seen nothing of the new type of rugby that Peter has spoken of.
"It is interesting that coloureds and blacks traditionally support the All Blacks when they play at Newlands.
"Is the team that has been selected of such a nature that it will ensure the support of most South Africans?”
De Villiers chose to replace Ricky Januarie and Conrad Jantjes with Fourie du Preez and Percy Montgomery for the third of three Tri Nations matches against the All Blacks, a decision which Frolick has condemned.
"It was Ricky who helped make history in the House of Pain," Frolick told SuperSport, referring to Januarie’s late individual try that secured a stunning win in Dunedin last month.
"Personally, I think Ricky has proved himself as South Africa’s leading scrumhalf.
"Is it Fourie’s World Cup status that now elevates him above Ricky. In my view, Fourie has done nothing to justify a place in the starting lineup.
"Conrad Jantjes is, on present form, the No 1 fullback. It is worrying that people make decisions with their heart to give someone (Montgomery) his 100th Test cap."