Fill the cracks that leak talent
In Part Three of his exclusive interview with Jan de Koning about the vexed issue of quotas, Breyton Paulse said too many players fall through the cracks.
South Africa don't lack non-white talent. It is just that too many players fall through the cracks between schools and senior rugby.
Legendary Springbok Paulse, speaking exclusively to this website, said that the 'top down' approach to transform the game – by implementing forced quotas in senior/first class rugby – is not a long-term solution.
There may be a short-term benefits in initiatives such as South African Rugby Union's decision to implement compulsory "measurable targets" for next season's Vodacom Cup competition.
However, SARU need to look at a more sustainable, long-term solution.
"It is difficult," Paulse said, when asked about the benefits of "top down" versus "bottom up" transformation.
"I have to be honest, many of the black and brown [coloured] players do have talent.
"They do well at school, but unfortunately many of them disappear after school."
The former Bok flyer, who scored 26 tries in the 64 Tests he played between 1999 and 2007, said the real problem is that a substantial number of those "talented" players don't get bursaries to continue their studies after school.
"Perhaps their parents can't afford to send them to university," he said, adding that he was "very fortunate".
"The [De Keur] farm owner [Charles Du Toit] sent me to Stellenbosch [University]," he said of the opportunity afforded to him when he spotted Paulse's obvious talent at school and offered to fund his further education.
"That is something that SARU have to look at," Paulse said, adding: "A boy who is really talented, somebody like Grant Hermanus of Paarl Gym, who is very good, or a boy who comes from a farm and gets a bursary at Paul Roos or Paarl Gym, what happens [to them] after school?
"As an example a boy's parent might not have the money, he could be with a single parent and his father may be gone [from home] for a very long time.
"SARU have to look at those models, to put in place a system that bridge the gap, work with the schools to say: 'Is this boy sorted out for the future.'
"That is where the gap is the biggest.
"Many of them just disappear after school, because their parents don't have the money to send them to university."
Paulse admitted in these tough economical times bursaries are not handed out willy-nilly.
"My feeling is that is where SARU can step in.
"Obviously the really outstanding guys will find it easier to get bursaries.
"However, what of the guy who does have potential, but develops a bit later?.
"That is where I feel the big gap is."
By Jan de Koning