at the ground

The players, teams , issues involved with the Rugby World Cup 2015

We can’t blame everything on Heyneke Meyer.

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Heyneke Meyer should be held accountable for the way the Springboks perform but HM is not responsible for South African rugby as a whole. I have seen many people commenting on different rugby sites and it seems like they are blaming Heyneke Meyer for the state of South African rugby.

Now my understanding is that a director of rugby is the guy who sets in place systems to spot talent, coach talent , develop talent and oversee the progression of players from beginners until they are into seniors and then have a system that ensures, that once at the senior level the players are coached by the best and that all this is aimed at filling the top team with talented well coached players. This director of rugby will have powers and people that he employs to make this happen.


Heyneke Meyer

My understanding is that a coach selects players available to him and coaches them and does not have the added responsibility of what should be the director of rugby’s job. This makes me ask a few of questions. Does South Africa have a director of rugby? If SA does then why is our system in such a shambles? Who is responsible in the administration for appointing a director of rugby? Have they appointed a director of rugby? If they have then he isn’t doing much of a job and why is he not being replaced?

In Superrugby Gary Gold thought he was coming into the job of Director of rugby for the Sharks, only to be told on arrival he is the head coach. No one at the Union seemed to be able to sort it out who was coach and who was director of rugby?  It’s my suspicion that whoever appointed Gary Gold, (it may have been John Smit), didn’t know themselves. The shambles that was taking place behind closed doors at the Sharks manifested itself in a dismal display in the 2015 Super 15 by a highly rated Sharks squad.

People are calling for HM to get the axe, I agree because he hasn’t improved the way the Springboks play, but HM may not have been helped by an administration that seem to sit back and not take progressive steps toward improving SA Rugby. Personal agendas seem to take priority. Do any of these people realise without decent rugby there won’t be a pay-cheque. Wake up!!!


Statue of Dr Danie Craven, South Africa’s ‘Mr Rugby’ Danie Craven supported the 1987 Rugby World Cup even though South Africa was not able to compete because of its apartheid policies. His decision to support the proposal in effect guaranteed that South Africa would host a future tournament once apartheid was relaxed. The wily former Springbok captain thus set the stage for the 1995 Rugby World Cup, which cemented the place of rugby, until then a symbol of Afrikaner supremacy, in the new multicultural nation.

I grew up when Doc Craven was the man in charge of South African Rugby. SARU  was established in 1992 as the South African Rugby Football Union, from the merger of the South African Rugby Board and the non-racial South African Rugby Union (SACOS), and took up its current name in 2005.( I copied that from Wikipedia). Dr Danie Craven was President of the South African Rugby Board from 1956 untill 1993. He was like a wise old rugby guru, that made decisions for the better of rugby.  In 1988 Craven made the then extremely controversial and unpopular move of meeting the African National Congress in Harare, Zimbabwe, in a bid to return the Springboks to global competition. South Africa had been in the international wilderness as the rest of the world were boycotting them to pressurise the South African government to end Apartheid. Craven’s meeting with the ANC caused many to call him a traitor but Craven was putting rugby first.

Do we have anyone like that these days running South African rugby?  No, we don’t. Oregan Hoskins the current SARU president seems to want to push the issue of including more black players and has little concern of the overall health of rugby in South Africa. I do feel transformation is necessary and the long term benefits of successful transformation will be massive and can only be good for South Africa. Hoskins seems to have a softly, softly approach and is ineffectual. Prioritising transformation detracts from the most important thing. The standard of rugby is the most important.

I copied this from SARU :

The unified SARU was founded on three core principles:

  • The establishment of a non-racial, non-political and democratic rugby community, both on and off the field to ensure the levelling of the playing fields at all levels.
  • The development of infrastructure and human resources potential in order to uplift the game in disadvantaged areas and establish it in areas where it was not being played.
  • To ensure that South Africa reclaimed its place amongst the world’s top rugby playing Nations.

The third principle mentioned there lacks ambition. It should be :

  • To ensure that South Africa becomes widely regarded as the best rugby playing nation.(Of course that is my opinion)

The higher the standard of rugby the more the interest in the game will be, the more money the Union will earn. This may go a long way to help keep SA players playing in SA.  Any black player that comes through the system will be able to earn big bucks rather than enter faltering tournaments with little reward when compared to elsewhere ie. Japan France, Britain, Ireland and Italy. Money talks!! There is nothing like money that attracts all men, no matter what colour their skin is. Transformation has a much bigger chance of success if there is a lot of money to be made by any man in South Africa.

In my simple rugby brain, I think I understand the point of business. The point of business is to make money. Rugby is a business and the quality of play is the product. Surely with a better product it gives you the opportunity to make more money.

The standard of rugby has got to be the emphasis. Too often we have seen the likes of former SARU presidents like Louis Luyt or Brian van Rooyen using their positions for there own agendas, mostly I feel to boost their egos. Neither left a legacy that was beneficial to SA Rugby.

So the coach is the public figure that it is easy to take pot shots at but it was the inept administration that appointed HM in the first place and that have threatened to extend his contract for a further 4 years. Just like a player doesn’t select himself, HM never appointed himself Springbok coach.

It’s high time that the administration running rugby in SA stop filling their own pockets with SANZAR deals and start looking at making Springbok rugby the best in the world.


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