Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has hit back against allegations of 'racist' selection policies from trade union Cosatu.
Earlier this week, the trade union released a statement claiming that a group of players had approached them saying they felt too little was done to transform the team, calling on the "leadership of Rugby to stop pandering to this racist white interest represented and led by the Coach." A latter statement clarified that the players in question are not part of the current squad.
Meyer seems to be in a no-win situation with his selections often criticised by fans as being motivated by racial quotas.
During Wednesday's announcement of the team to travel to Argentina to face the Pumas this weekend, Meyer insisted he picked his team on merit alone.
"A lot of the players came out and supported us. you're always going to get players that are unhappy if they don't play," said Meyer.
"A guy like Steven Kitshoff really wants to play. He deserves the chance and he hasn't had a chance. A guy Jan Serfontein was our starting centre last year, and nobody writes about that, but he hasn't had his chance this season.
"I don't look at colour, I look at the best players. I'm totally committed to transformation and I have a great relationship with my players.
"A lot of them came to me and said ‘coach, it’s not true what’s in the papers … we stand by you, we know exactly where we stand.’ I'm there for them," added Meyer.
"We're all South Africans and we're all there as a team to do the best for our country. We have to back each other in this country as players."
Meyer kicked off Wednesday's press conference with a brief prepared statement in which he vowed to not to buckle to external pressures.
"They say that sport or rugby builds character. It doesn't build character, it reveals character. When I took the job I said it’s not about me, this job is bigger than the individual," he said.
"The most important thing for me is to keep my integrity. I know there is a lot of criticism. I don't have any excuses and I know where the public comes from. There is a lot of negativity and I understand that, but like I said from the start … I'm going to keep my integrity and that’s more important to me than just winning."