Blackline an historic move for Boks

OK, it's just not soccer, but the selection of five (or is it six?) black players in the Springbok Test side against Samoa is not something to sneeze at.

OK, it's just not soccer, but the selection of five (or is it six?) black players in the Springbok Test side against Samoa is not something to sneeze at.

Who's the sixth one? Luke Watson, of course. Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool said Watson, who is white, should be considered a black player and he should be included in the Springbok team ahead of "white" players of equal talent.

Watson's father, Cheeky Watson, rejected a Springbok blazer in the 70s and joined the non-racial Kwaru that had 13 black players and two whites (Cheeky and his brother Valence). Luke "grew up" in the dusty township streets and considers black players of that era his heroes. Does that make him black? Not pigmentation-wise. His heart and mind are, however, not quite white.

Tomorrow's encounter at Ellis Park will be a battle of brains against brawn ... and a bit of history.

While the whole of South Africa's radar will be focused on outspoken Watson's first appearance in the green-and-gold jersey, history will be made when for the first time in Springbok rugby history two black centres and two wingers will be in the starting line-up.

The all-black outside backs, Ashwin Willemse, JP Petersen, Waylon Murray and Wayne Julies, will have their work cut out on defence against the bullocking Alesana Tuilagi, widely regarded as the "new Jonah Lomu".

Willemse, who just made his return to competitive rugby, will have the unenviable task of marking the 1,85m, 113kg Tuilagi. To add to the danger, Tuilagi's younger brother, Anitelea, will be at centre and JP Petersen will have to mark Lome Fa'atau on the other wing.

Samoa coach Michael Jones said in the week he would like his players to use more than brute force and strength when they take on the Springboks.

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