Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus is committed to meeting set targets for racial transformation of the national team by meeting the 45% black player representation threshold this season.
Erasmus, 45, who is also the national director of rugby, says that there are no excuses not to meet the target even if black player representation in Super Rugby franchises seldom exceeds 30%.
"We must stop talking around it [transformation]," Erasmus said at the conclusion of the third and final Springbok "alignment" camp.
"We must talk about it.
"The target is 45% this year and … it’s not 45% in every single game; it’s measured over the entire season.
"If I don’t reach the target by the end of the season, I have failed to achieve one of my key performance indicators.
"I know there will be challenges because you could suddenly have five injuries and you have to make a plan. Fortunately we know now that we have to make a plan in that scenario. If I don’t make the 45% target I will be in trouble. "
Erasmus was careful not to be too critical of the Super Rugby teams, who have generally been operating below transformation requirements, which obviously complicates matters for the Springboks.
Franchise coaches do not always do what the Bok coach requires regarding playing certain players or choosing players in requested positions, he said.
While there has been strengthening of bonds between franchises and Erasmus, with the latter bringing all Super Rugby head coaches to his alignment camps, Erasmus is sympathetic to their position.
"I was a franchise coach too, so I understand where they are coming from," Erasmus said.
"I’m not just talking transformation now. Sometimes we would like a guy at inside centre and the franchise will pick him at flyhalf. We will always leave the franchise coach to make the decision. But I think things are turning around for the better.
"Fleckie [Stormers coach Robbie Fleck] must keep his job and Robert du Preez [Sharks coach] must keep his job and if they help me and the Boks do well but still get fired, nobody is going to say thank you to them.
"In terms of transformation, [Bulls prop] Trevor Nyakane is starting now and playing wonderful rugby. He’s getting a lot of game time. Siya’s [Kolisi, Stormers flank] game is coming back to its best.
"Ultimately you don’t have to have every single franchise playing 10 to 15 [black] guys for the Boks to reach our target. If we count the Kings and Cheetahs there are 26 to 28 black players performing well. There are only spots for 23 players [in a Bok match-day squad].
"Yes it would be great if there was better representation in all teams, but I also understand that sometimes the franchises are in trouble with injuries or a lack of form."