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Transformation High On The SA Rugby Agenda

  • 3 min read

Mark Alexander, President of the South African Rugby Union, said he is “quite happy” with the make-up of the Springbok coaching panel.

However, he was ‘less than satisfied’ with the transformation of the coaching set-ups at franchise level.

“We not happy with the makeup of our franchises,” Alexander told a media briefing, adding that getting more black coaches into the system is at a premium for the national body.

“All the [non-white] coaches that have come through over the years have come through our [the SARU] system,” the President said.

“We have to put pressure on our franchises in the Pro14 and Super Rugby franchises.”

Rassie Erasmus, who gave up his title as Springbok coach to focus on the obligations of his position as SARU Director of Rugby, said it was unfortunate that not enough ‘coaches of colour’ are coming through the franchise systems.

“Every single coach that has been pushed through to Super Rugby level SARU has used,”Erasmus said.

“When Allister Coetzee [Stormers] made it to Super Rugby level, SA Rugby used him and appointed him as a coach.

“When Deon Davids was pushed through to Super Rugby [Southern Kings], SA Rugby used him as a coach.

“When Mzwandile Stick did relatively well as an Under-19 coach and won the age-group competition, SA Rugby used him.

“Whenever a franchise delivered any coach of colour at that highest level, SA Rugby took him on board and gave that guy an opportunity.

“Some of the other coaches which we had in our [SARU] system, eventually went down to work at the franchises. Great examples are Joey Mongalo, who was defence coach of the [SA] Under-20 [team], who was eventually appointed at the [Lions] franchise.

“There are also the two SA schools coaches which we appointed, with one appointed at the Sharks and one appointed at the Lions.

“Every time a coach comes through the franchise structures, we took that coach into the SA structures and used him.”

Erasmus though said the lack of coaches of colour in the Super Rugby set-up affects them from a selection perspective.

“We would like to see more coaches of colour coming through, but we, unfortunately, we don’t have control over that – just like we can’t tell them [franchises] who to appoint as Chief Executive Officer.

“They run their own franchises.

“I know, when speaking to the coaches at the franchises, with the Sharks being an example, they’re really committed to transformation. However, I agree with that the head coaches don’t currently reflect transformation. That does make it tough for us to get guys into the national set-up because the pipeline is slightly messed up.”