Indaba maps out a new direction for SA rugby

20 October 2016 - 20:43 By Craig Ray

SA Rugby’s acting president Mark Alexander confirmed that the game’s governing body would undergo structural changes to help facilitate the good progress made at the national coaching indaba held in Cape Town on Wednesday and Thursday. Alexander‚ who will be ratified as president on October 27‚ would not give intricate details as his position needs to be formalised.“We will address structural issues on the 27th‚” Alexander said.“This forum was strictly to discuss coaching and rugby issues.“What happened here will guide the administration component of our discussion. A new structure is coming out and it will be adopted in early December.“The biggest aspect is that we need to attract sponsors and investors back to the game so we want to restructure the game into franchises and non-franchise structure. So it will be professional and semi-professional.”Although Alexander didn’t expand it is still a startling detail and a very positive development if he and the executive committee can pull it off.SA Rugby is bogged down through it’s amateur structure with 14 unions – almost all of which are insolvent – reliant on SA Rugby for financial grants to survive so that they can operate as ‘professional’ entities.Because income has to be stretched so thinly across these poorly managed and bankrupt unions‚ SA Rugby is in no position to centrally contract 120 players and Super Rugby coaches‚ which would in turn improve rugby standards due to more control.The two-day indaba focused on rugby structures and despite the administrative hurdles that still remain‚ there was a positive feeling about what was achieved.Alexander said: “The two days mapped out a new direction for SA Rugby. The willingness of the participants to share was outstanding. We were asked to collaborate. It was solution driven and we focused on solutions.“The success otherwise of the indaba will be measured in the coming months and years because there is no short-term fix to what we were addressing.“This is a long-term strategy and can only be delivered in collaboration with our member unions.“What we are putting in place here is a methodology but the tactics of how individual coaches use it is up to them. It’s about putting building blocks in place and building on those.”Professor Pieter Kruger‚ who was one of the facilitators of the gathering‚ will drive the process in the immediate weeks.“The initial idea was to get a few thoughts on the table and collaboration going‚” Kruger said.“Now it’s important for us to have an action plan with a strategy at a practical level. So within the next seven to 10 days we will draw up that plan.“We are lacking as a nation when it comes to sharing ideas and Brendan Venter‚ who was the lead facilitator‚ did a great job there. He got a few coaches talking and once that happened the ideas flowed.“I was worried initially that we wouldn’t have those conversations but once it started we could all see the value.”Springbok coach Allister Coetzee felt it was a “ground-breaking moment in SA Rugby.”“We shared ideas on where we are strong and where we can improve in all facets of the play‚” Coetzee said.“We will be producing a document as a result of the discussions we have had around different skill sets and the Super Rugby coaches have agreed to allocate time each week in their schedules to focus on those elements.“We will also be holding an indaba solely on conditioning before the end of the year. And having opened this conversation we are planning to hold a follow-up session between the Springbok management and Super Rugby coaches before the start of the 2017 Super Rugby season.“We know that the impact of a two-day indaba won’t be felt immediately. But the work we did here was not the end of a process‚ it was the beginning of a new way forward.” - TMG Digital

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