SA Rugby president Alexander issues warning to affiliates who've turned a blind eye to transformation

04 November 2020 - 11:52
By Liam Del Carme
SA Rugby president Mark Alexander is talking tough but has not said anything in regards to punitive measures to be taken for non-compliance.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix SA Rugby president Mark Alexander is talking tough but has not said anything in regards to punitive measures to be taken for non-compliance.

South African Rugby (SA Rugby) president Mark Alexander has a stark message for the organisation's affiliates who have turned a blind eye to transformation.

“Continue on this path and there will be no rugby come 2030 and beyond. SA Rugby's transformation strategy is a survival plan‚” Alexander told TimesLIVE.

“If we want to be relevant by 2030 we better target the larger portion of society.

"We have an ageing white and coloured community. According to the statisticians those are shrinking communities‚” said Alexander.

He stressed that the organisation needs to access a widely untapped black market for multiple reasons.

“We are not just targeting new markets from a playing point of view but also in terms of spectators. It is not a numbers game. It is about survival here.”

His comments to this platform came after reports of a letter that had been sent to SA Rugby's affiliates in which some of them were reminded of the commitment they made to transforming.

Some franchises‚ in particular the Pumas‚ had fallen well short of their own targets in Super Rugby Unlocked.

The Pumas fielded just two black players against the Stormers towards the end of last month.

“That letter was a general thing‚ reminding the members of the commitment they made. It's their commitment‚ their targets‚” said Alexander.

“They need to follow through on the plan they drew up.

“This was a normal‚ standard letter we sent out‚ advising the members of the commitment they made. We are not targeting the Pumas.”

He also stressed that SA Rugby did not foist racial targets on members.

“Every union has its own targets. Which they designed. We merely sent them a reminder of what they committed to do.”

Alexander lamented the fact that the domestic game had not capitalised on the momentum created by last year's Rugby World Cup when the most transformed Springbok team took part in and captured the Webb Ellis Cup.

“The success of the World Cup is not a get out of the jail free card for those who oppose transformation‚” SA Rugby said in the letter to their affiliates.

“It is the opposite – proof that there is no excuse for under-performance.”

Apart from pointing out that all the Super Rugby Unlocked coaches are white‚ Alexander also took aim at some franchises for dropping the transformation ball at u21 level.

Free State had 74 percent white representation in their team followed by the Bulls (70 percent)‚ Sharks (63 percent) and Western Province (61 percent).