‘Scary’ findings on rugby transformation

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Cape Town - The SA Rugby Union (Saru) has conceded it lacks transformation at all levels of the game and released “scary” findings on which areas and provinces are in need of development and transformation, from high schools to Super Rugby.

Just 21 schools produced 40 percent of Springboks capped since 1992.

Should Saru wait for players at grass-roots level to rise through the ranks it will take at least another 10 to 12 years before it meets its transformation targets, MPs heard.

Briefing the sport and recreation oversight committee, Saru chief executive Jurie Roux painted a bleak picture.

Accompanied by Saru president Oregan Hoskins and other board members, Roux gave a presentation on some of the resolutions taken at last year’s Transformation Indaba on sport, convened by the Department of Sport and Recreation.

Some of the findings from Saru’s audit of club and school rugby state:

* The 251 Springboks capped since unity in 1992 have been drawn from 143 high schools.

* Only one in every 35 schools plays rugby in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and North West.

* 60 percent of all rugby- playing high schools are in the Western and Eastern Cape.

“Chairman and members, we are not hiding anything. We are producing the numbers so they are there for everybody to see. We’re very serious about what we’re doing at the moment,” said Roux.

He said the real issue facing Saru was “where we are going on transformation”.

“We embarked on a complete transformation process which incorporates all the aspects of rugby. If we want to truly transform both our unions and SA Rugby as a whole we need to do it on every level,” said Roux.

Saru had embarked on its first major audit of clubs and schools and “got some scary findings and some other insights”. He said some of the “alarming figures” and challenges were in areas like KwaZulu-Natal and some areas of the Free State. “If we go further you can see that we’re in serious trouble in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and North West. These are very clear hot spots,” Roux said.

It was important to align each union with rugby-playing demographics of that area.

“We can’t have a generic target for each and every province,” said Roux.

He said Super Rugby was a serious concern in terms of representation.

“Representation of Super Rugby and Springbok level is where both the public and many other stakeholders are criticising us at the moment. And if you look at numbers in the Super Rugby environment, a case can be made out of that,” said Roux.

As a solution, Saru had begun a programme to identify the top 40 rugby-playing black schools and assist them through development and funding. “A Springbok team representative of the demographics of South Africa will only arrive when the demographics of rugby-playing schools reflect the national demographics,” said Roux.

Committee chairman Richard Mdakane welcomed the report. “The leadership of Saru seems to be on track.”

DA MP Donald Lee thanked Saru for the presentation and for addressing matters raised by the committee.

“You responded to the things we urged you to do the last time,” said Lee.

PAC MP Letlapa Mphahlele asked what exactly needed transforming.

“Is it the environment or the person?” asked Mphahlele.

Political Bureau


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