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Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Rugby Administration: Revolution v Evolution: The future of rugby transformation

“Australian” academic, Prof JJ Du Plessis, says the difference between European and American companies is the Americans are strategy driven and the Europeans process driven. The Americans flexibly make decisions and then think about implementation. The Europeans think implementation first. This may explain why American companies are killing their European counterparts worldwide. Think of Daimler’s failing partnership with Chrysler and compare that to Ford’s blooming one with Volvo. What has this got to do with transformation? Read on.

In 2005, SARU had the opportunity to embrace revolution and think strategy rather than process on the transformation issue. They decided to go for process. This is a mistake that could eventually have massive negative repercussions for our rugby.

Did SARU follow transformation principles or were they forced?

The time to have started with transforming our rugby was 1994 when we got a democratic government. Everyone then should have seen that the end of white hegemony in all walks of life was over. Some did and some didn’t. Rugby didn’t. By 2004, when Jake White took over the reigns, we were in exactly the same position as 1994.

The regulars in the Bok squad were Chester Williams and then after him Breyten Paulse. Yes people like Lawrence Sephaka and Ncgobani Bobo were given the occasional run, but I’m talking about regularly selected black players.

Jake White changed the goal posts. But did he? What was Jake White’s commitment to transformation before December 2003? Do we even know? When he won the Under 21 championship with the Baby Boks, how many black players were in the run on XV? I remember Ashwin Willemse – on the wing.

When names were bandied about, White was said to be a transformation disciple. He got the job. The thing though. Nobody knew that Jake White was pro-transformation in this aggressive way until he was appointed. He’s broken some records. Most black players in a starting 22 and he regularly plays with 3 black players in the XV.

However, by 2003 the government and Ngconde Balfour in particular, were sick and tired of SARU’s lip service with their black wings in the Bok team and their feeder provinces. Jake White had better have been pro-transformation or he wouldn’t have kept the job for long.

The 2005 transformation charter addressed nothing

The 2005 was drafted on commission from SARU to Willie Basson. Rugby players and administrators were not consulted when it was drafted. The transformation charter is superfluous. It is a meaningless piece of paper that addresses certain process issues about black player numbers it nothing else meaningfully.

What options did SARU have?

SARU sent their charter out to the unions for comments. Spears CEO Tony McKeevr sent his response, called a Corporate Makeover Document to SARU as a comment. The document not only addressed black participation in rugby, but asked for a strategy that adopted a strategic and holistic corporate approach. Sure it’s short and sweet and to the point, but isn’t that the point?

Ruggaworld has exclusive access to the Corporate Makeover Strategy that SARU rejected. Let’s examine it and compare it to the process driven SARU commissioned BEE Charter that went before the sports portfolio committee in parliament.

In the first place, McKeever recognised that changing the player numbers of rugby requires a completely different approach to rugby in South Africa. It requires a mindset change. It requires new thinking and it requires effective corporate change management. It requires a corporate strategising approach to transformation. Transformation is not just 75% black players on the field. It is in change managing the entire SA rugby spectrum to one that is demographically representative of South Africa. And that change begins at the top.

His first point is that mindsets have to be changed within rugby. The present mindset that says there are not enough black players. There aren’t enough black players of international quality. “They” are good on the wing. This leaves SA rugby as an entity incapable of change managing itself into a transformed culture with a singular vision. One that promotes rugby as a people’s sport. The Springboks as a people’s team. With SARU a behind the scenes driving force behind transformation.

Then, it requires a singular vision. A singular mission statement and an environment that allows people to achieve this. At the moment the scandals and allegations rocking national rugby and their provincial franchises leave a terrible fractious set of bodies unable to focus on their mission of managing and leading one of our national sports. One of the cornerstones of this mission statement is openness.

At the moment we have to rely on the media to sniff out what is going on inside our national rugby. We don’t know. We trust committees to investigate matters that are then swept under the carpet. From sources who do not want to be named we learn that SARU’s HR manager has resigned, that their financial manager has had his contract renewed. In this Glasnost approach, everyone would know what is going on inside our national and provincial bodies because, radically, they would tell people!

The reasons for transformation and change management into a corporate culture must be rational and justified. People need to know why things are happening. They need to know what the goal is and why we are striving for it. Mveleli Ncula’s pronouncement in December about player numbers is exactly the opposite of this. A pronouncement from on high without rationale, justification or reason. Completely unexplained and unexpected.

The people running the game must communicate. People must know what is going on. Don’t give rumour and innuendo a chance to get involved. There are so many communications portals open these days that there is simply no excuse for poor communication. It means that the people in control of rugby must openly live out the ideals and vision of rugby, striving to achieve its goals, and openly aligning themselves with its views.

Effective people management. This is an essence of transformation. With people buying into the corporate vision, they need to go home and promote it into their communities. The people of SA Rugby must have this vision reinforced and rewarded for achieving success. I.e. in HR terms, an effective performance management system. There must be a common vision of SA Rugby for them to strive to and feel part of. This is easy. The common vision is: “To Win!”.

Why is this better than a BEE Charter?

Simple really. There are already thousands of pages of Codes of Good Practice from government on transformation. There is an Employment Equity Act (EEA), a Skills Development Act (SDA) and a Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Act. All these laws have codes and guidelines for their implementation in place. Why spend a huge amount of money to get someone to draft a 60 page plus document in legalese that nobody can understand? How does one use a legal document to implement change of culture. You don’t. It’s that simple. You need the effective corporate skills to communicate, lead and inspire. Proper corporate leadership skills.

Now compare this with the backtracking on the black player number issue. Although new news reports state that Johan Prinsloo has backed off on Mveleli Ncula’s 8 in the squad, 6 in the 22 and 4 in the 15 numbers, a press release to that effect is still on the SARU website.

Missing the boat will cost us dearly

Australian rugby, even for their recent public spats (that were public because they reported it as a board to the media) is strongly corporatised. Considering their small player numbers we must agree they have the most successful rugby team in the world.

There is no need to implement some charter that will affect a single process, namely black transformation, focusing on black player numbers. There is no need for noises about making SARU black. The process Rian Oberholzer started should have continued. Instead we had effective leaders like Morne Du Plessis sidelined as SARU took the backwards step of actually decorporatising itself.

It went back to the staid undergoverned relic from the dinosaur age. And now we have a situation where money goes missing, deals are made, and systems and processes not followed. In a corporate environment there are just too many checks and balances to avoid this taking place. High profile failures like Saambou are high profile because they are so rare and the perpetrators are brought to book, just like with Leisurenet.

Right now we have a ridiculously outmoded voluntary organisation running SA Rugby free from the checks and balances a corporate culture brings. Free from the openness we could expect from a large effectively run corporation and free from support of the people who make them the money. The ‘dressing’ as Rian Oberholzer derisively called fans.

Then we have black players. They will be the victims and the beneficiaries of this Charter of Willie Basson. So where’s the problem. Simple. 43% of all our rugby players on professional level come from the Eastern Cape. Almost all our black rugby players come from the Eastern Cape. All the other unions have to do is trust the Eastern Cape to keep doing what it does and then poaching their black players without any concern for developing blacl players in their own unions. Remember that skills development is not a big one on the SARU scorecard. Number crunching is the most important thing, not skills development, so this scorecard simply breaks away from what government actually wants. The development of black people to a level where they will compete on an equal footing with white people.

Well SARU must keep going. The only reason they keep escaping scrutiny is because Jake White is succeeding. Once he fails, the axes will come out. Already the Australian and Kiwi media are making noises about the “Thou Shalt” quota pronouncements. If public opinion there turns against quotas, and our teams keep failing in SANZAR competitions, the leap of logic for their fans and eventually Rupert Murdoch, may be we’re failing because of quotas. And quotas are political interference in sport.

That may be the end of professional rugby in our country. And all because SARU has no clue about corporate change management.
1st to post!!!

I'd like to thank my producer, my fellow actors, and most of all i'd like to thank ..... LOL

All i wanna say is:

Aldo is ollie's bitch
davidS loves big black ass
clayton sucks gus' eiers!!!

Great article DavidS!
Would be very interesting to take ALL our black players in the current Super 14 squads and see 1. Where they are coming from?, 2. Where did they go to school? and 3. Where are they playing now?...  
Under the present administration the future of rugby is bleak.  
Get rid of what davidS? My 1st post... OK, i wont talk shite if you guys stop too... lol

Its all 3 of you and donner and pissant. i know you guys are just messing around but this nigger aint stepping DOOWWWNNN!!!
and the plot thickens...

how deep does the rabbit hole go????
I was taling about my 4 "D"'s Wes!

Oh and what do you call Wes when he wears a suit?

The Accused

Somehow Toyota has managed to be dynamic and staid and conservative at the same time.

I don't see anyone challenging their hegemony of the world car market for a very very long time.
Again well written DavidS

Maybe a coffee table book with all your arties & Ras & Donners would be applicable to celebrate the REVOLUTION

On your take at the cars- read Mike Lawrence pitpass arti on OORB, also very informative


I took away all your D's. Relax :)

This software is shit!!!!

Hopefully we change over within the next few days!
Hey I'm a mind reader!

I answered OO before he wrote his piece!

Donner I thought you said you'd take all those stupid "D"'s away foe me so I don't look like a poephol anymore.

Nah OO

I'd prefer a blood spattered wall on Green Market Square with the old regime lining up for their last cigarettes and blindfolds.

Now THAT is the traditional way to celebrate a victorious revolution.

We shouldn't mess with successful recipes like that.

Well at least some people are opening their eyes to the shit Brian and his cronies has been spinning you.

It was always about the power and money, never about the rugby.

Follow the money and all will be revealed. Harry Potter is not a match to the secrets you will discover.
As a matter of interest, SARU did contact me to comment after the previous Transformation piece, but when I gave them my contact details, they told me 'they'd decided to leave the matter'

I gave them the opprtunity to comment on this piece too, but they didn't even respond.
foot in mouth desease perhaps davids  

Maybe they're concentrating so much on making sure they all stay on the gravy train that they don't care about the state of rugby.
Great article Davids,

We can just hope that the right people sees this and realises what should be done.

Sri Lanka are getting WHIPPED!!!!
WPW is shorter than KEO  

59/0 in the 10th over

Smith and Dippenaar ripping their bowlers to pieces.


They thought if Smith could do it so could they. They opened with Russel Arnold and Murali.

Both have been smacked for plenty already!
Whoa PJLD!!!

Now that was below the belt!!!!

Way below the belt.

Eish. You can't say that to a man...
HEs been on my case for two days now,i had to come thru with a good one

yeah well davids, this of course is an open forum where views are discussed and questions are asked.

anyone, including SARU, is welcome to defend statements or answer questions posted on this site. we are not a closed shop, we simply ask the questions myself as Jo Soap want to ask - if we are ignorant or wrong, then come and tell us.

fat chance of that happening though
While PISSANT polishes George Gregans head  
province probes andre markraaff!!!

davidS likes giving jorrie head!!!
WPW sucks ollie like a havana!  
aldo hates black & coloured people!!!

pissant sucks BVR's tollie!!!
wpw is a Graaf's pool rentboy on weekends!!!!  
Indeed, Kandas

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