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SARU refuses to publicly back Boks coach Coetzee as MPs quiz management on losses and transformation

By Bianca Capazorio | 2016-11-29 17:59:11.0 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

South African Rugby Union president Mark Alexander has refused to publicly back Springbok coach Alistair Coetzee in Parliament‚ saying the matter will be discussed within the SARU structures next month when they meet to discuss the team's 2016 performance.

The Springboks have had a dismal 2016 season and Alexander admitted that "not blooding new players has caught up with us" and that "we need to turn this boat around".

He said that next month SARU would hold a "conditioning conference" to create a "blueprint" that would outline the standard conditioning that will be required for players in the various teams.

The 2016 season review‚ set for 13 December‚ will include a coaching review and a review of the policy for fielding players coming from overseas‚ many of whom arrived just a few days before games.

He said following the review‚ overseas players were likely to be "the exception" to the rule.

Alexander told the committee that the team currently sat at a winning ratio of 63% since 1992.

Several MPs on the committee asked Alexander whether he still had confidence in Coetzee's coaching.

National Freedom Party member Mandlenkosi Mabika questioned why the messages coming from the coach and captain were so different.

"The coach sounds lost and confused‚ not knowing what to do‚" he said.

Democratic Alliance MP Solly Malatsi asked: "Does the leadership still have confidence in the coach? Has anyone spoken to the players to find out if they still have confidence in the coach?"

But Alexander did not answer the question and after several attempts‚ he told MPs: "We have the review on the 13th. We can't have the review of a coach discussed publicly."

Committee chair Beauty Dlulane said that "sometimes when you have a new coach‚ you see what is happening now. Sometimes you do lose‚ but not this way!".

Alexander told the committee that the team had also been decimated by 27 injuries over the season.

SARU and six rugby unions had been invited to the committee to update them on transformation in the sport. The Border Rugby Union and the Griffons Rugby Union did not pitch‚ making no apologies.

Alexander said the Springboks had met and exceeded the government's 35% black players target (with 40%) but that more could be done.

Griquas' senior vice president Monte Engelbrecht told the committee that with "11 players of colour in the main squad‚ we are very happy with where we are."

But he said that at club level‚ the costs associated with traveling the vast distances of the Northern Cape to play matches meant that budgets were being spent on transport rather than on transformation.

Free State rugby deputy president Jerry Segwaba said the team had won the Currie Cup and the women's league had won their competition too.

At board level‚ there was still some transformation work to be done‚ with 60% white members and 40% black. He said they had also formed a committee to look into disability transformation as they realised they lacked in this area.

CEO of the Leopards Rugby Club‚ Andries de Kock‚ said there was 50% black representation on the management committee but they struggled in mid and senior management levels.

Their senior team only included 17% black players.

Western Province president Theo Wakefield said in their amateur arm‚ rugby was being expanded to schools and even to farms. He said 417 women made up their women's league‚ of which 218 were black and 156 were coloured.

On the professional side (the holding company of which is currently being liquidated)‚ he said teams were playing well and they are "very strict on transformation" with about 35 to 40% of players in these teams being players of colour.

TMG Digital/Parliamentary Bureau

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