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De Villiers under pressure

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Sportal.co.nz     14 Aug 2008     Getty Images

De Villiers, South Africa's first black coach, chose his side to face New Zealand on Saturday but despite picking seven black players in the 22-man squad - and four in the starting XV - still faced criticism.

The centre of the controversy comes because Fourie du Preez has replaced Enrico Januarie - the latter who scored the winning try against the All Blacks when the Boks triumphed 30-28 in Dunedin to end a 10-year drought of wins in New Zealand.

This has angered the deputy chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee on sport, Frolick, who hit out De Villiers in Die Burger newspaper on Wednesday.

Frolick told De Villiers that he should be "reminded of his mandate and [that] it was time to see the coach's initial thinking being realised on the field".

He continued: "It was Ricky who helped make history in the House of Pain.

"Personally, I think Ricky has proved himself as South Africa's leading scrum-half. 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 line-up."

Conrad Jantjes has been put on the bench, allowing veteran Percy Montgomery to get his 100th cap in front of his home crowd, but this has also angered Frolick.

He said: "Conrad Jantjes is, on present form, the number one full-back. It is worrying that people make decisions with their heart to give someone his 100th Test cap.

"This creates questions about where we are heading.

"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.

"We have also seen nothing of the new type of rugby that Peter has spoken of. It is interesting that people of mixed race and blacks traditionally support the All Blacks when they play at Newlands."

He then went on to question whether the side is representative of the nation.

Frolick continued: "Is the team that has been selected of such a nature that it will ensure the support of most South Africans?

"We cannot repeat the cycle of the White era. We must build for 2011. It is easy to fall into a comfort zone. Peter should be reminded of his mandate. It's not all about transformation but [transformation] is important."