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Ken Borland



SA Rugby had to listen to stakeholders’ bark or face the bite – Roux 0

Posted on May 01, 2017 by Ken

 

According to Saru CEO Jurie Roux, South African rugby had to listen to the bark coming from broadcasters and all other stakeholders in the game and cut the number of SuperRugby franchises or face the bite of economic hardship and potential disaster further down the road.

Roux was speaking on Monday at the launch of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge, the new tournament that will slot in at the level below SuperRugby, following Sanzaar’s announcement at the weekend that South Africa will only be able to field four teams from next year.

“Our stakeholders – sponsors, fans, broadcasters and media – have been speaking very clearly about the lack of integrity in the competition because not everyone plays everyone else, and the confusing format of SuperRugby. Broadcasters wanted change to come immediately otherwise they warned us we were going to run into contracting issues.

“And the economic reality is that we cannot sustain six franchises, we can survive with five but then we’d have to sacrifice other things, and neither can we sustain it from the player point of view either. So it’s high time that tough decisions were made for the good of South African rugby, that’s what the staff are paid for and the office bearers are elected for.

“Ultimately it’s a numbers decision, the numbers of spectators and viewers are in decline and there’s obviously an issue with what stadiums are providing as well. Plus half our franchises lose more matches than they win, so they’re not providing quality competition,” Roux said at the Bill Jardine Stadium on Monday.

The CEO said politics and emotion had governed the previous decision to expand to six franchises, but he hopes the newly formed franchise committee, and the Saru general council that will ultimately consider their proposal, lays those factors aside when they consider which two franchises should be cut from Super Rugby.

“The ultimate competition was probably Super 12, but there was some selfishness, some mandates from country’s high-performance units and a lot of revenue and political factors that led to the expansion. The reality is that there will always be some politics involved, but emotions are tougher to manage and I’m sad to say a lot of rugby decisions have been based on them.

“My plea to the franchise committee is to make a swift recommendation, not based on politics or emotion, so that nobody can accuse us of stalling. I will push as hard as I can to have this decision made as quickly as possible, at most within a month’s time,” Roux said.

The CEO suggested another four professional franchises could play as a group in other overseas tournaments, while adding that the 14 provincial unions had to continue as semi-professional entities looking after the broad base of the South African rugby pyramid – the amateur and school teams.

https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-citizen-gauteng/20170411/282144996206681

Cape Town hides many things … 0

Posted on February 01, 2016 by Ken

 

 

Cape Town, the Mother City, is renowned for her tranquility and the purity of her environment, but beneath the veneer there is probably as much devious wheeler-dealing as anywhere else in the country.

I say this because of the politics and individual agendas that have been going on in Western Cape sport for some time, proving that although Cape Town may feel like it is on another continent, the other side of Table Mountain experiences similar problems to the rest of the country.

The sport’s body that is putting out the most fires at the moment is probably the South African Rugby Union, based in Plattekloof, and it all starts at the top with the CEO, Jurie Roux.

Saru president Oregan Hoskins had to issue a statement on Friday stating that Roux wasn’t appointed back in 2010 with any cloud hanging over him. The Stellenbosch University allegations of financial impropriety against Roux are, in my opinion, opportunistic and stem from a long-running feud within Maties rugby itself.

I have been assured by other leading rugby administrators that Roux certainly wasn’t the only university administrator to allegedly divert funds in order to obtain top players. I am sure, based on the ugly power struggle raging behind the scenes in Stellenbosch rugby circles, that there are two sides to this particular story and perhaps those accusing the Saru CEO of all sorts of things should allow him to defend himself in a court of law.

But the battle to defend their CEO, and at the same trying to make sure that the Southern Kings are not a complete disaster in Super Rugby, is certainly distracting them from what should be their most pressing commitment at the moment and that is finding the new Springbok coach.

Rassie Erasmus is now the favourite but while I am sure the former Springbok loose forward has the technical and strategic skills for the job, the national coach’s position is about so much more than just the on-field training and preparation.

It’s also about handling the media and the voracious television demands, as well as meeting the expectations when it comes to the key area of transformation.

Erasmus has had a cocoon around him in the Saru offices, quietly and efficiently getting on with his work as a director of rugby type figure, and there have been suggestions that whoever will be assisting him with the Springbogs (Johan van Graan is one probability) will front up for the media and PR duties.

This would be totally unacceptable. Only a little less unacceptable is the suggestion that Saru will only make an interim appointment.

The Springbok coach has a position of enormous responsibility and, unlike so many leadership positions in this country, there needs to be accountability to the public. Heyneke Meyer may have failed to bring home the World Cup and perhaps struggled to grasp transformation imperatives, but kudos to him, one could never accuse him of not fronting up and trying to explain himself.

Cape Town is a beautiful place, but she hides many things and Erasmus will not be able to hide away if he wants to be Springbok coach.

Otherwise the fairest Cape has another coach she has watched grow and who has handled often antagonistic media in a mature and effective way and that is Allister Coetzee.

 



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