FILE - Stormers hooker Bongi Mbonambi tackled by Sharks loose forward Siya Kolisi during the first game of the Pro 14 Rainbow Cup SA played at the Cape Town Stadium. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
FILE - Stormers hooker Bongi Mbonambi tackled by Sharks loose forward Siya Kolisi during the first game of the Pro 14 Rainbow Cup SA played at the Cape Town Stadium. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

SA Rugby boss questions ‘system’ as provinces fail to achieve transformation targets

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published May 13, 2021

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CAPE TOWN – SA Rugby president Mark Alexander has questioned the lack of transformation in senior franchise and provincial teams after only a handful of unions managed to achieve their targets last season.

Most of the provinces who competed in the 2020 Super Rugby or PRO14 season, Super Rugby Unlocked and the Currie Cup failed to achieve the desired 45 percent representation for ‘generic black’ players, and 22 percent for ‘black African’ players.

In fact, only the KwaZulu-Natal and Western Province Rugby Unions had reached the 45 percent generic black target, with only KZN and Eastern Province attaining the 22 percent black African mark.

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With the generic black target, there were obviously better results, although it was still short of the required totals. In the early 2020 Super Rugby tournament, which was called off in March due to Covid-19, as well as the PRO14 event contested by the Cheetahs and Southern Kings, the statistics were as follows… Bulls: 33%, Eastern Province/Southern Kings: 34%, Free State: 26%, Golden Lions: 33%, KZN/Sharks: 42% and WP/Stormers: 46%.

In Super Rugby Unlocked, the data was: Bulls: 35%, Free State: 26%, Golden Lions: 32%, Griquas: 38%, KZN/Sharks: 56%, Pumas: 28% and WP/Stormers: 48%.

In the Currie Cup, it was as follows: Bulls: 30%, Free State: 32%, Golden Lions: 26%, Griquas: 33%, Sharks: 62%, Pumas: 36% and WP/Stormers: 46%.

The black African statistics were markedly poorer. In Super Rugby/PRO14 – Bulls: 11%, Eastern Province/Southern Kings: 22%, Free State: 15%, Golden Lions: 19%, KZN/Sharks: 34% and WP/Stormers: 12%.

In Super Rugby Unlocked – Bulls: 10%, Free State: 13%, Golden Lions: 20%, Griquas: 19%, KZN/Sharks: 37%, Pumas: 16% and WP/Stormers: 14%.

In the Currie Cup – Bulls: 11%, Free State: 19%, Golden Lions: 16%, Griquas: 16%

Sharks: 44%, Pumas: 19% and WP/Stormers: 15%.

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In the SA Rugby annual report tabled this week, Alexander said: “When the success of transformation is determined by budget allocation, one must, unfortunately, ask the question whether it is a symp­tom of a system that has not changed at its core.

“If the statistics are correct, we have a shrinking coloured and white player base in our country, and if we fail to attract the rest of the population group­ings to our sport, we will have a small pool of players on which to draw.

“Transformation asks for our busi­ness to be done differently; it is a process of fundamentally restructuring the very basis of our business with different priorities, and the reallocation of current resources that will con­tribute to a conscious, deliber­ate, planned, and goal-directed change with the sustainable growth of rugby being at the heart of it.

“The enabler is not necessarily more money, but rather how we differently use the monetary re­sources that we have, smarter and more effectively.”

SA Rugby said in their report that they “acknowledge work needs to be done at professional and developmental level” with contracting of players at provincial level to be successful with their 2030 Strategic Transformation Development Plan.

“Continually advancing as part of a journey towards better representation is very important, with a long-term end-goal in sight, and the unions realise there is a need to improve their team demographics,” read the report.

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“Contracting players was not as straight-forward in 2020 as under normal circumstances, due to the pandemic, and all the provinces realise that player contracting is a prominent contributing factor to meeting their self-determined transformation targets.”

There was better news on the governing body’s performance in achieving their Eminent Persons Group (EPG) National Barometer outcomes – which encapsulates 43 categories signed off with government – with 87 percent, in relation to the pass mark of 50 percent, although it was down on the previous year’s 97 percent.


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