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Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Rugby Administration: SARU mis-Communication

Why are we cursed with a body as incompetent as SARU to oversee the game in South Africa?

Particularly in South Africa, with it's inherent challenges and the need to address the historic inequities, one would wish for an organization that communicates clearly to their ultimate stakeholders, the rugby public.

As an example of what I'm talking about one needs only visit the Australian Rugby Union website. Relevant information is easily accessible, clearly presented and professional.,27276.html

For example, should you wish to know exactly who is administering Australian rugby, there is a clear link to their 'Office Bearers', within which is contained a comprehensive listing of office bearers, including who can vote, LIfe Members, IRB representatives, Directors of ARU Player Welfare Fund etc. Do SARU even have a Springbok or South African player welfare fund?

It is also very instructive to read through their Marketing document and other reports.

By contrast, it is usually inspired guesswork to know who is on SARU's board, never mind any other position. The SARU website is awful, usually out of date, uninformative and providing the barest details possible. It's as if they DON'T WANT you to know anything.

Do yourselves a favour, compare the High Performance report from the ARU with the 'High Performance' report from SARU. I challenge you not to burst into tears.

Bear in mind that this is the quality of work they actually allow us to see. Can you imagine what their inhouse work looks like? That notorious 2 page fax comes to mind. It doesn't bear thinking about really. If their public face, in the guise of their website, is any indication, then it is no wonder this is a body mired in confusion, obfuscation and incompetence.

Is there nothing that can be done about them? They really are too unprofessional for words. No wonder our influence has been constantly waning at the IRB.

Bliksem the hound could have administered a better body than the motley crew currently running things.
The words Dear God spring to mind

That high performance document looks like an edited version of a third rate state NFL team in Bumscrew Midwestern Bible Belt America.

Shocking. Absolutely shocking.

Who's in charge of high performance at SARU. I thought it was Tim Noakes. If it is then this is a shocker too.

I thought SARU would have a dedicated Comunications department.

They're a public organisation. One would believe that if they have a media liaison, then they'd have a communication department to deal with updates of the website and collate the information so they present a small, but cohesive powerful and easily navigable website. I venture to point out that the Australian site is not a model of what a corporate website should be, but at least it's got all the information you'd want!

Now I ask the question again

Why the hell is SARU NOT corporatised?

At least they're better than SAFA and the UCB who are uniformly shockingly pathetic too.

It appears to be an apathetic stupidity that afflics all South African sports bodies
I know, David, it's an absolute bloody shocker. My heart sank when I saw that, never mind the rest of the so-called documents available.

They can't even be bothered to present the little information they do provide in a legible and professional manner.

Very depressing. Prinsloo must take ultimate responsibility for this as CEO.

I mean, how can the guy actually sit in his office, log on and be proud of that crap?
By the by, Nic Alberts, the 6' 6" blind side flanker from Pretoria has scored a try for Cambridge as well as the prop, Rudi Bosch!!!

Kandas, you could do worse than gaining these two brainy and brawny lads!!
Bosch is the Cambridge loosehead and he's destroying Oxford in the scrums.

He's also the first ever player to be sent off in over a hundred years of the fixture!!! Typical!
PA, Ras, DavidS

You've got urgent mail.
lol Rasp

Typical "Boer Thug"

So the point I am making is a simple one.

When you are the national representative of a hugely lucrative sport, then your marketing and PR must actually be the cutting edge.

You need a powerful and strong Marketing Division who actually handles things like, Press Releases, the website, the magazine (if you have one) and EVERYTHING said to the media.

If you look at the ugly spats fought in the media earlier this year it is a shocking indictment of SARU that they weren't able to resolve Varkgat and his issues in private and present a united front. What's in the boardroom should stay in the boardroom.

It is the operational side of SARU that concerns me the most though.

It is as though, the whole SARU froze after Johan Prinsloo and BVR managed to get Riaan Oberholzer out. Since then there has been no further development in our rugby MARKETING except from the sponsors like Sasol and ABSA (spit). Why do we not see SARU ads the way SAFA runs ads on tv like their 'Ya Chesa" campaign?

The solution I see is a simple one.

Corporatise the operations of SARU. Especially the communications side. Saru should have a dedicated communications department that deals with marketing etc.

I mean, what would one of the RWC 2011 voters have thought if they came onto our SARU website before having to vote. Shocking.

Really BVR is nothing more than a spoilt brat child 4 year old who has finally gotten the toy he wanted and now it's a top of the range Tamiya racer suitable for ages 16 and up and has no idea what to do with it from here on.

Most marketing departments DREAM about having a brand and product like the Springbok to market.

It's like selling Coca Cola. You're always on a winner.

I could do a better job with a staff of 5 on the WHOLE of SARU communication.

I agree totally with you and and to make things even worse is the fact that SA Rugby, besides the strong visible Springbok Brand, also has an association with the number one brand in the world - Madiba. Yet, I'm thinking what would happen if the Springbok Squad and Madiba arrive at the same time at Tokyo's Airport. Whose press conference you think they will attend 'cause there is no real effort to combine the two brands either.

I've been to pretty much every major rugby playing nation's website and SARU's is a SHOCKER.

It's as if their website is an afterthought, as if it doesn't really matter.

Well, here's a newsflash for them - the IRB members visit their site, their sponsors visit their site, foreign newspapers visit their site, players visit their site and fans from all over the world looking for definitive information visit their site.

And what do they get?

That utter rubbish they've posted as various 'reports'. This is the image we give to everyone who visits that site.

The Australian and English rugby sites are universes apart, never mind light years. You can find anything and everything on both sites and it is presented in a professional, clear and easily accesible manner.

I'm ashamed of the way SARU presents itself to SA fans, never mind our international audience.

You got mail

Anyway, with that endorsement, what more do you really need. Madiba is like the MOST marketable thing in AFRICA never mind South Africa.

The Australians have a whole portion of their annual report dedicated to marketing.

Now that you would understand because the Union game is still struggling for recognition in Australia, but as the young players dwindle in SA, BVR is sitting on his corpulent derrierre and doing nothing to actually take the game out there to the people.

But that's just the marketing arm.

I'm talking the whole communications function. The people who talk to the media, the way the brand is positioned, the way the board is presented etc.

The website is the FIRST thing people from overseas see when they come looking for SA rugby. It should be the VERY VERY best.

Like I said, give me 5 people....

Isn't the problem that Supersport and MegaPro are too much involved and reponsible for SARU's website. Making a moer of a lot of money and giving SARU a watered down internet presence.

SWD for instance is looking at breaking with that "tradition" and to have their own custom designed and developed website.
As you say, you cannot get a more marketable product from SA than Madiba, Table Mountain and the Springboks.

How you mess up the marketing of a commodity like the Springboks is beyond me.

SARU have some real issues with their operational side, they are sleep walking.

The first thing I'd make them all do is pitch for their jobs again, reinterview each and every member and carry out a performance audit for the position they hold. Are they qualified to undertake their role? Do they need training? Are they fulfilling their remit?

SARU needs a shake-up at board level and on the real operational administrative side.
By the way, Bosch promptly got himself sent off as well!!!!

LOL, 140 years with nobody being sent off and the 2 South Africans make history in one match!!

On top of that, they had absolute stormers, Bosch was probably Man of the Match and both scored tries.
For me it all comes down to what Ras said a while ago about the Leicester Tigers (I think?). The players, fans, administrators, communities, sponsors - everybody must be involved in building the brand.  
Ja Ras

In most corporates, every single person in a mangement position is performance managed, from the minute they start.

Everyone gets targets and they are tarsparent to the point where a person determines their own targets in consultation with a line manager.

This is the VERY BASIC exit point for every single corporate and marketing were the people that INVENTED the concept of performance management.

It's a highly scientific HR function now. I should know, seeing as I developed our company's performance management system.

Give me R350 000 from the PC Budget to do the website. And DavidS and his 5 people. :)

The irony is that it was incompetence that allowed Chavhanga to be fielded in the 7's match when he was ineligible.

That 'mistake' cost South African rugby over R1m. That R1m could have ensured they have the best website of any major rugby playing nation.

Or, it could have been used to get David-type HR people in to perform audits on each position in the company and recommend remedial action.

Instead, that R1m of SOUTH AFRICAN FANS money is fitting out the IRB's plush Dublin offices.
I mean, do we even know yet who is the new SARU Chairman?

The last we heard the voting was dead locked and divided down racial lines.

Has anything been released yet?

This was months ago already.

Did you get your mail?
Yip, Kandas, received it.

Hope PA is going to post some more articles ;-)
PA is very very busy at this stage. I think we should flood this thread of yours :)  
Can we delete a thread once we post it?  

If PA gave you Admin rights, which I think you do have, You should be able to delete it.
You know, the thought of Rupert Murdoch's boys reading through the 'reports' on SARU's website (as they definitely would have done) is really, really embarrasing.

What particularly gets me is, don't these guys ever look at other nations websites? Don't they compare themselves?

Are they not horrified and embarrased at their own offering?

Do they have no shame, in other words?

David is right, their entire communications team needs to be fired and they need to put in place new communication strategies throughout the organization.
Kandas, I'll post a new thread, let me know if we should leave it up.  
Media Manager
Not sure what his job description is and what he's paid, but the last word I had is that the gentleman's name is Rayaan Adriaanse.
Does it ring a bell with anyone?
Any idea exactly what he does on his coach of the gravy train?


Will do
Boertjie, he's just the Bok media manager. Bit of a cushy job as they don't seem to do much.

As far as I know he is not involved in SARU's media activities.

I don't know if he is an ex-Labat employee.

That's a laugh!!! What SARU media activities???

I don't think people quite understand how useless SARU are. In comparison to a lot of their counterparts they are abysmal in almost every function.

As far as I'm concerned the CEO must take the responsibility for this. If he is shackled by Van Rooyen wanting to be a 'hands-on' President then he needs to show the balls to stand firm.

Then again, aren't Van Rooyen and Prinsloo in the same camp?
Why was the website outsourced to Supersport?

The only two reasons why you outsource is:

1. You don't have the inhouse expertise AND it is not readily available in the market.
2. You want to shift the responsibility and are just not in the mood to do it.

Guess which route Prinsloo went.

Marketing a famous brand is always difficult, because of just that reason. You are always faced with the dilemma of " Am I famous enough to stop aggressive marketing and will I be throwing money in the wind if I carry on?" or "I am not famous enough, aggressive marketing should continue."

There comes a time in a brand life that you won't make it anymore known than it is. Lets face it the Springboks are known to every person in South Africa and to most rugby lovers all over the world. So it is obviously stupid to throw money after aggressive marketing unless you have people within your organisation who is hurting your brand with stupid and unprofessional behaviour. Need I say more than Prinsloo and Brian van Rooyen.

HOWEVER if your brand can't be built out further, there is some steps you do need to take to ensure that the brand stays famous and live up to the expectation. These are not major things that needs to be done. Having a website that is run professionally is one of the easiest tools in this communication era to ensure that your brand is always on top.

Communication through out all aspects of life has been identified as a major problem when it comes to being successful, whether it be business, marriage, politics, etc. Why would a insitution like SARU not appoint professional people to handle this. Yes they did get sucker punched by a certain journalist we all know as someone with personal vendettas, but surely there are others. Where is the Marcus Brewsters of South Africa. These guys are professional, they do it for a living.

Your question on changing SARU to a corporate.

Remember that is the way it was under Oberholser. Brian van Rooyen won't go back to that route, because you and I know that they would then be governed by several acts of law. There was a big hoohaa over corporate governance at SARU, but if you reaaly look at it, they are not reaaly binded by King 2. MAybe that was one of the reasons why Van Rooyen wanted to move away from the corporate structure.

Remember Corporate Governance is there to protect the investor with a DIRECT financial interest in the the corporate. Unfortunately we as fans doesn't have a direct financial interest in SARU. Teh only guys who does have is the sponsors and if they don't like the information they get, they just with draw form next years sponsorship. And you tell me, which sponsor will really do that to Springbok Rugby.

That is the reason they appointed Ali Bacher to the board. To look after their interest. I tell you they are bluffing themselves. Brian won't let anyone interrupt his gravy trian ride.

Very good points.

Makes you worry though if the Sponsor doesn't have a say. Not the way it's supposed to be!

They are playing on the sponsors emotion towards Springbok rugby. Do you really think Sasol will just get up and walk out. The emotion surrounding rugby is to great. Tehy will be crucified and to top that will probably be sued with their own money for breaking the contract.
fokkit boys,

everyone made some great arguments and had very good points.

can we copy and fax this thread?

kandas you have mail
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