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Wednesday, December 14, 2005



Following on Rasputin’s article yesterday, I felt the need to look further into the challenges facing SARU and highlight some of the issues that we from the outside see as the major problems facing SARU. Yesterday I said SARU’s major problem is communication. This is in line with what Rasputin highlighted yesterday in his comparisons between our rugby administration and that of Australia and England. Today, I look at the view of the public.

The rugby loving public loves the Springboks and the game but not the administration. There is a common view that the administration of rugby is corrupt and inept. This is not a new perception. It existed in the days of Doc Craven.

In those days there was a perception that the rugby administration was noting more than a broederbond government lackey. Players were selected not based on merit, but rather for their political affiliations and the fact that they studied at certain universities. The most famous example of this was the out-of-the-blue Bok selection of HO De Villiers.

It continued in the reign of Louis Luyt, where the appointment of Rian Oberholzer, rightly or wrongly, was viewed as nepotistic. There was a similar view that Louis Luyt’s reign at SARFU (as it was then) was done to benefit himself. The follow-on reign of Silas Nkanunu was viewed as tokenism that allowed the old guard to continue running things from the backdoor, while Nkanunu was the puppet black face. This should not be seen as any disrespect to Nkanunu who is a respected lawyer and judge.

The reign of Brian Van Rooyen promised much, but it has failed to impress the public. The issue, as usual, is the lack of credibility that SARU administration has with the public. The perception exists that SARU administration is inept. This is evident in the apparent infighting of the board and the very public spats that Andre Markgraaf fought in the media.

In view of the farcical appointment of the racist remark-making Markgraaf, the appointment of Mike Stofile is viewed, again rightly or wrongly, as appeasement of the ANC. The constant and ongoing forensic and legal investigations against the president’s financial management foster the view that there is something rotten in the state of Denmark. Through the ANCYL and the sports ministry we get the constant idea that rugby is paying lip service to the development and growth of the game among previously disadvantaged groups.

I must stress that these are perceptions of the public. These are not necessarily accurate. In Australia and England the administrators are the invisible guides of the game. We know the coaches and the players but do we know the board? No, but if you go to their website you can easily find out who they are. In South Africa, administrators are seen as high profile entities in their own right, separately from the game and the players with some sort of shadowy allegiance to the coaching staff. They are not seen as guides, but rather high profile dictators that are leading the game in a direction for their personal gain. Unfortunately, this perception is that personal views do not accord with what is good for the game.

Kandas’ recent expose on the pay players in the minnow unions receive highlights this.

So where is the problem? It is simple.

The perception is that administrators today are all trying to be the high profile rulers of the game that Doc Craven was. He ruled in difficult days of sports isolation, competing ideologies and political interference in rugby. There is no longer a need for such a ruler. There is a need for leadership. Firm leadership is needed for certain, but firm leadership needs to be free from the self serving interference of people who are in it for personal gain. By this I also refer to the self serving big unions who use SARU’s leadership as a way to advance their own interests. The recent decision to create a permanent set of teams in the Premier League is an example. The fourteen team system was another.

The next point is transparency. This is an ANC buzzword, and rightly so. It is an international trend. People are not stupid. We do not live in the People’s Republic of Korea where news and information needs to be sifted and edited for careful consumption by the peasants. We are not peasants. The government rightly believes people should know what goes on and how decisions are reached. That is why we have laws like the Promotion of Access to Information Act. That is why the government is online to give information to the people. SARU does not do this. As we saw yesterday, we do not even know who all the SARU board members are.

So the first point of departure is that the SARU leadership should be low profile and guides of the game, not high profile dictators. The leadership should also be free from the constant threats of getting voted out by the unions who will use them for their own self serving interests. The unions have far too much power in my view. So far, Mike Stofile is the only leader within SARU who maintains a low profile and appears free from the kind of controversy in rugby that surrounds Andre Markgraaf (Remember Markgraaf was the one who went waltzing off to Rapport to shine about Mike Stofile) and Brian Van Rooyen.

This brings me to what I call the service triangle. Wrongly, in my view, there is still a separation between the administration and the players (i.e. the game). This is the public separating the administrators, whom they universally hate, and the playing of the game itself, that they love. There should be no such separation. The game, the unions, the Currie Cup, The Vodacom Cup, the Super 14, The Springboks and the people who go out to earn SARU’s money every week on the field (‘the dressing’ as Rian Oberholzer condescendingly referred to us) are part and parcel of the administration. The administration should be seen as a component of the game, not as something evil and separate from it.

The key is communication.

SARU has a set of brands that it can market and sell. SARU has brands in its stable like the Boks, the Baby Boks, the Super 14 (not the way Vodacom sponsors it, but as a SARU brand), The Currie Cup.

These should be marketed and communicated as SARU brands. SARU could also downplay its role as a leader and rather concentrate on its role as a guide. This, after all, is the key to leadership. Leadership does not steal the limelight from performers. Instead it creates the environment for performance, and this is what SARU should be doing.

SARU certainly should have a communications arm. The communications division should be one of its most important. After all, we are getting one view from Brian Van Rooyen saying there are no more quotas and another saying that there is transformation within rugby, while yet another, from ANCYL says there is no transformation. These are issues that a good leader and a powerful communications division will deal with. A communications arm would be able to downplay the role of SARU, while highlighting its successes in administration through projects.

To conclude then, SARU needs low profile leadership, marketing of its brands, union between the brands and administration and decent communications.

These are keys to its success.

However, under the self serving 'leadership' of Brian Van Rooyen, these are forlorn hopes.

Thanks Donner

Where the hell is everyone?

This is a brilliant piece.

Ig, if you are out there, please get DavidS to submit this to Keo when you are back up and running.

It's the most even handed and thoughtful piece I've read in a long time, getting right to the core of the matter.

What a waste for it only to be circulated amongst us few die-hard fans.

Brilliant, David! Thank you.
i cannot say more than what was already said david, brilliant piece, do you want me to mail it to the beeld or news 24? :)  

It certainly deserves a wider circulation than just us!!!! ;-)

Only if they're going to pay me for it!!!!

Thanks guys
i know this is totally off the topic but what do you guys think of Roland Shoeman's decision not to accept the offer from Qatar?

I reckon he is a true SA'n and a hero now more than ever...

As to all the words of encouragement- like wise from me.

Yip news.24 should pay you for it- it would obviously have a place as part of their columns.

I have a feeling that the current leadership of Ruggaworld should not write themselves off in January as Keo, come online again, just to become "Pundit Posters" again, sure you guys do not have to compete- but you certainly have a role to play- it may even be an obligation.

It is not just about talking shyte- it is our- again generic- responsibility to speak out against injustice- that is what a free press means.

Please rethink your role-it maybe a holiday past-time know- but if you rate the editorial content of the in-depth discussions on this site- and I include the stuff that was posted - by you guys- over the 8 months on Keo that I witnessed- Then this editorial leadership can play a role in SA rugby.

PS. DavidS- please do us a piece on the term forlorn hope- will make some interesting reading
Yes wpw, it is not all about money

Please forgive me for giving your positive post a racial spin- but see my context.

Not all whiteys are just thinking about themselves- If he stays- I reckon he is hardcore Saffa- in a white skin- I sincerely hope it does not count too much against him in future.

man I can still remember that wonderful feeling of that Sunday night when they blitzed the world- all Saffas should be extremely proud of them.

welcome buddy!

i dont know hey, its got 2 sides for me. if swimming SA was an organisation run by professionals and not by selfserving gits, then yes, his decision should have been admired and would have been admired by me.

but what happens when this guy is 40 one day, cant compete anymore and is nothing more than a poor or middle class south african trying to make it doing a 9 to 5 job or become a swimming coach? then that millions would have looked pretty enticing to me personally.

the fact is, our sports governing bodies dont look after our guys, if they did, different story.

there is a fine line between patriotism and stupidity in SA at the moment, even if he left, do you think for one second he wont look at himself as a South African anymore?


interesting views and yes, davids and rasp has certainly given a new dimensions to this blog. hell we are even going to get paid for advertisements on this blog soon which i will use to pay our respected writers!!!!
btw OO,

my piece on Cheetahs rugby is done, a bit different from what i normally do but i think you might like it. should i mail it to you?
Good point pissant. Not an easy decision. 20 mil is alot of money. SA Swimming needs a kick up the backside if you ask me.  

Yes pls- will post it later today.

I am serious about keeping Ruggaworld alive- there are some heavyweight thinkers here- that includes you-might just turn into something real good
donner jou blikskottel!!!

I just linked onto the 'Home Shopping for her' by mistake and got a fright of my life...
Ek het jou mos gese ek is klaar met daai dinge. En nee, ek was nie geveng nie. LMAO.

Now your comment of buying her something for the honeymoon makes sense. LOL


You should have known Donner by now boet....



You're organising us advertisers?

its an option that is part and parcel of the blog!!! and yes believe it or not i might place some banners on here from guys wanting to advertise! i must say you guys are really impressive with the quality of the articles.

btw, i will mail you guys the link where you can look at how much money we make and the account details, i dont want to be accused of embezzling funds now!!! or maybe i must, maybe SARU can offer me a job.


your email address is on my other pc again!! please just pop me a mail like you did yesterday please.
on the ads thingy, google is going to 'crawl' on this site for the next couple of days and give us options on ads or banners we can place, will mail you guys the details as i receive them. so we can all decide.  
Hahahah PA


I like it....

Why hasn't the Igster at least placed a post on keo inviting people here for a while....

Or is he already dronk in some George Park waiting for the 7's to start!

What is that supposed to mean?
George Park is George Pub....  

Ig's apparently going to the George 7's

Was just wonderiong whether his absence might be explained by him already being in George and enjoying the down time in a pub....

Maybe even with Kandas...who's also been scarce here today....
Was referring to your post to wpw.  
Geez, PA

Be careful! I don't even know what the legality is of 'borrowing' images and articles!

Considering it was just a handful of us on here I didn't think it would matter if we copied a few articles straight over but if it gets bigger.....

I think Kandas has got some chores to attend to today. Was here earlier.  
Then we've got to start paying Getty Images or whatever if we 'lift' a few images...

Anyone know?
Oh, the wickedweazel thing

Having you as our resident sex therapist, and guru, Wesley should have known that a link to a 'for her' site would have been something designed to enhance his sex life and not a site where you could buy make-up and kitchen utensils....


Is that what the 'rugby tours' banner is all about at the top of the posts?

I'll look into it too

From a legal perspective.

Some things we lift may be public domain sowe can do as we want with it, but you're right about the images...
So what's our aim?

World domination through rugby?
yeah the images, and straight copying and pasting of articles, if not specifically naming or aknowledging the source, is illegal, copyright stuff.

but no worries, the google stuff is an option offered by the blog administrators and the other sponsors i am talking about are, well, for a better word, personal stuff!
St Pete,

I see from the other thread you are having trouble signing in with your name.

As far as I know there are two options, the others can help us out here.

1 - Go to and sign in with the same Username and password you used yesterday to register.

2 - You can just type your name by using the 'other' button, AFAIK.
Donner's kind of 'personal stuff' PA?


Everybody already congratulated you but I just need to say as well that this article is absolutely brilliant!!!

Given the Company you are in (Rasputin, PA, etc) this makes me really excited about what we can do and achieve on this site.
Agreed Kandas

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