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Monday, January 30, 2006


Rugby Administration: interview with Hoskins


Jan de Koning gets to the heart of Oregan Hoskins in this interview and it all sounds refreshing. Visit for all things related to South African rugby.

KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union (KZNRU) president Oregan Hoskins, who will oppose Brian van Rooyen in the presidential elections at the South African Rugby Union (SARU) annual general meeting (AGM) on February 24, says too much time is spent on talking and compiling reports, while there is very little action in the administration of the game.

Speaking to Hoskins made it clear that his decision to stand against Van Rooyen was nothing personal. However, he was very critical of Van Rooyen's management style, which has dragged SARU and South African rugby in general from one crisis to another for the past two years.

Hoskins feels there is a real need to move forward in order to restore the faith the public and other countries have in the administration of the game in South Africa.

Speaking about the numerous reports, both at national and provincial level, threats of court cases and other administrative bungling, he made it clear that it is time for action.

"I think the days of reports must come to an end," Hoskins said in a wide-ranging interview. "Action is required in terms of the various reports that we've had over the years. Reports have been an excuse to not deal with the problems," he added.

Asked what are the important things that he feels need changing, his answer was again straight to the point: "I would like to see strict adherence to good corporate governance, so that the public can have confidence in the administration of the game."

He also added that there is a real need for SARU to play a bigger role in the issues that have dragged the game into a mire of controversy in the South Eastern Cape (SEC - South Western Districts, Eastern Province and Border).

"SARU has been lacking in terms of playing a positive role in the SEC. I think SA rugby, going forward, after February 24, will play a much more meaningful and positive role in the SEC, because it is going to benefit the rugby family in South Africa if those administrations are brought up to par and if those administrations in SEC can administer the game properly."

Asked what other areas of the game he feels need addressing, he said the SEC is his biggest concern. But smaller (less profitable) unions also need attention.

"Right now the SEC is the [big] worry for me because of the concept of having the Spears.

"There is also an issue that is going on for the last decade or so as far as the smaller unions are concerned. There's been so much money spent on reports, as you know, to look into this aspect. The situation in the smaller unions, in conjunction with SARU, will need to be looked at so the smaller unions can also play a meaningful part."

Acknowledging the fact that recent controversies has contributed largely to the poor image of SA rugby, he said the country has lost credibility on the world stage in recent years?

"The last couple of years, to be more specific the last two years, have accentuated that [poor] image of our rugby. It is not just in South Africa, but in the international rugby community that we are seen in a negative light as far as the administration is concerned,"

However he is convinced that despite a history of political infighting and back-stabbing within the game of rugby, SARU can move away from it all.

"Everyone, including myself, are tempted to say that we can move away from it all.

"Because we've done things like we've done [back-stabbing and infighting], we've done things in the last decade in a very controversial way and we've had controversial figures.

"I as a South African I believe that we can get things right, and I'm not being short sighted when I say that, we certainly can have a positive image of the game of rugby.

"Some people might see it as a miracle. I just believe there's enough goodwill among rugby people in this country to want to see it work, and I look at the miracle that saw us come through the early '90s in this country then nothing is impossible.

"And I think it is another miracle that we need, as a rugby community, in this country. People love the game so much that they deserve a good clean administration."

Hoskins also feel that SARU's constitution can do with some tweaking, in order to make it easier for the administrators in the game.

"When Brian van Rooyen became the president there was a drastic change in terms of the constitution - with the company's memorandum and articles. We really need to find the perfect constitution to move forward.

"It doesn't require major changes, just some minor changes, just to get clarity on how the relationship must be defined between the company (SA Rugby Pty Ltd) and SARU.

"I think that has caused grey areas with the changes that Brian [van Rooyen] introduced. It has caused uncertainty and suspicion between the two, the company and the president's council are not mutually exclusive arms of our rugby organisation. They are actually meant to compliment each other."

Although the lines between company (SA Rugby) and SARU have been blurred, Hoskins feels there is middle road that can be followed.

"There is a place for a middle road. When Silas [Nkanunu] was president and Rian [Oberholzer] the CEO, the emphasis was on the company to the detriment of the president's council. Brian [van Rooyen] came in and took the pendulum swing to the opposite extreme, where he took everything back to the president's council ... and he virtually killed the company.

"You can't have extremes like that in any organisation, whether it's business, or whatever sport, you really need to strike a balance between the two and I think we'll find that balance.

"It will go forward as two arms [company and President Council] that will work together. It is not impossible for the two to work together. We cause the problems.

"Fundamentally it depends on the leadership. Generally speaking structures don't matter if the leadership has its priorities in order and that for me really is the fundamental issue. If you've got the right people there then the thing will succeed."

He added that experienced rugby administrators and respected people like former Springbok captain Morne du Plessis and administrator Keith Parkinson must be brought back.

Both Du Plessis and Parkinson walked out on the board of SA Rugby because of Van Rooyen's dictatorial management style and Hoskins has made it one of his priorities to get these kind of administrators back in the game.
i like what this guy says, i am not sold yet as i do not know anything about this guy, but i like the direction he is taking.

he mentions public in there, and the public trust that must be re-gained.

he mentions rugby people like morne and keith that will perform important roles.

he mentions enough talk (reports) and start working.

hell, if they used that money into enquiries into the small unions and gave it to the smaller unions to retain players imagine where they could have been now? reminds me of an old saying, the romans did not build rome by sitting in a boardroom and discussing it, they went out there and build it.

hoskins, one thing i can assure you, is that you run this game we love with THE GAME and PLAYERS' best interests at heart, you will have all the support you need from the public.
Touche PA

Well said, but I don't know enough about the man, and given that we must judge him on The Sharks, I'm already iffy.
"People love the game so much that they deserve a good clean administration". Amen to that!  
It is surprising that nobody more senior within SARU administration has stood up to challenge Van Rooyen.

My theory is that some may be implicated in the auditors findings, to differing degrees, and don't want to get involved in another 2 years of the same nonsense.

Plus, and perhaps more importantly, Hoskins is black and is the most credible black candidate available. He hasn't been involved in any of the highlighted issues and was amongst the very first to make a public stand.

With the issue of transformation and increasing government 'participation' in sports administration, the white board members may have felt it a wiser step to continue having a black president.

Not as a mere figurehead like Nkanunu but in a genuine attempt to move forward with government.

It is very telling that Mike Stofile hasn't made himself available - obviously the cries of 'nepotism' have reached the highest ears and there is a sensitivity to it.

I doubt we'll ever see another white president of SARU.

I'm also sure that if Morne was available he would have been a natural and the very best choice.
I wonder if he will still be so keen to help the Spears if the Sharks get relegated?  
He is dead right about SARU losing influence within the international community since Van Rooyen took over.

Quite frankly SARU is regarded as a basket case in most other countrie's union HQ's, and no doubt within the IRB as well.
Mike Stofile would want to keep his nose as clean as possible. You've also not seen him come out and say anything in support of BVR. That should be damning of BVR in itself.  
I just hope order gets restored if Hoskins get elected.
Some two years ago it was decided e.g. that only the senior team will wear the full Bok emblem - and that the junior teams and the whole entourage from baggage master to ball inflator will have a different variation.
This was decided in order to make the Bok emblem exclusive and only worn by test players.
Nothing came of this decision.
There were many other decisions that came to naught - clean management is one of them.
I have nothing against Hoskins, he is sure to be an improvement, but I find it difficult to forget that he appointed RS at the Sharks and the manner of the appointment bothers me.  
My issue too JJ

Well said.

We should also remember he let Bryan Van Zyl play the battered Boks after a gruelling international season.
WPW was here! watch out!!!  
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