While there have been a lot of changes in the Springboks’ coaching structure this year, Mark Alexander is the strong favourite to retain the top job in SA Rugby.
The winner of the Saru presidential elections will be announced in Cape Town today, and current president Alexander is expected to remain in South African Rugby’s hot seat.
The presidential incumbent’s only opposition is Leopards Rugby Union president Andre May, who surprised the rugby public when he decided to put his hat in the ring for the position.
Alexander took over an organisation in turmoil in 2016 following Oregan Hoskins’ resignation. And last week, in an interview, Alexander said that his measurables over the next four years – should he win the election – will be “a transformed and successful business in the office and a transformed and successful national team on the field”.
While the amount of support May has gathered will be seen this afternoon, it is safe to assume that May, an advocate of the High Court and former Western Transvaal lock will make the smaller unions a bigger part of his plans. As a long-serving Leopards boss, May could very well have the support of the smaller unions, but it would come as a major shock should he unseat Alexander.
The fact that Dr Jan Marais – a Griffons stalwart from Welkom who was the SA Rugby chairman before the organisation restructured in 2011 – joined the party and made himself available for the position of deputy president, challenging incumbent Francois Davids – previously president of Boland Rugby – could perhaps be seen as an indication that the smaller unions have decided to get involved and shake up a national rugby landscape where change isn’t a common occurrence.
The position of vice president, which James Stoffberg currently holds, will be made redundant.
The improvement of the Springboks’ dreadful sixth World Rugby ranking, transformation targets both in the Bok team and in the boardroom, player retention, financial stability and sponsorships, management of franchise and provincial teams, player welfare and other matters are all factors that will – even though some not directly – serve as the assessment cards used to determine the success of the next SA Rugby president.
Nominees for the Saru Executive Council include Western Province president Thelo Wakefield, Arthob Petersen, a former Bok team manager, from Boland, and Hein Mentz from the Pumas.
Nominations for SA Rugby elections
President: Mark Alexander, Andre May
Deputy President: Francois Davids, Dr Jan Marais
Executive Council: Vivian Lottering, Schalk Liebenberg, Hein Mentz, Lindsay Mould, Arthob Petersen, JJ van der Mescht, Thelo Wakefield.