Mujati blames quota system for exit
Former Springbok prop Brian Mujati has admitted that South Africa's quota system forced him to further his career overseas.
Mujati left South Africa to play for English club Northampton Saints in 2009. The 28-year-old, who was born in Zimbabwe, played 12 Tests for the Springboks - the last coming as a replacement in a 42-6 win over England at the end of 2008.
He admits, however, that as a black player in a predominantly white team, he soon realised he was only being picked to satisfy a racial quota system.
"We played against Scotland, Bismarck du Plessis got injured in the first minute and I played the rest of the match," he told the Daily Mail.
"We won, then our last Test of the tour was against England.
"On the Monday, I came down to breakfast and found out they had flown in Jannie du Plessis from South Africa. I thought, 'All right, he is here as cover', but in training Jannie was doing all the drills, then they announced the team and Jannie was starting. I felt really let down.
"South Africa pick guys because of their race, because they’ve got to have two or three black guys in the squad. It became clear I was one of those selections. I called my agent and said I wanted to leave."
The former Stormers and Lions front-rower flourished in England, and admitted he had a big desire to prove the Springbok selectors wrong.
"I wanted to play well and have them come and beg me to play for the Springboks again. It was a stupid thing to think!"
But the Springboks did request him to play for them again when he was offered a starting role for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
However, his comeback was blocked by new rules which meant he needed a South African passport and, despite input from government ministers and the SARU’s best efforts, he was denied one.
"For me, that was the end of the road with the Springboks," added Mujati.
"Mentally, I had to give up on it. But in a way, knowing that they wanted me back was enough."
Mujati will leave Northampton at the end of the European season to join Top 14 club Racing Metro.