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From a South African perspective the rugby calendar makes little sense. The way the international fixtures are currently set out does not really allow for any competition to run its course to completion, it has therefor been proposed that there will be a break in the Super Rugby competition next year to allow the June tour window, and then the Super Rugby competition will resume. In between all this, there is a Currie Cup that will now take a further step back to accommodate the Super Rugby and International fixtures.

These are the current problems facing SA rugby:

  • SARU administration
  • Coaching
  • Appointments and reasons on why coaches are appointed including player selection policy
  • Getting Franchises to work with Springbok rugby
  • Currie Cup
  • Vodacom cup
  • International windows and scheduling of all these fixtures.

These problems aren’t insurmountable, but it would need a collective focus from all participating bodies to solve these issues. Some are internal issues, others need to be dealt with at a SANZAR level and international scheduling needs to be dealt with by the IRB.

SARU administration
Recently it was announced that SARU has restructured with the merging of the amateur and commercial arms of the organisation and the creation of a new structure more accurately focused on delivering on a revisited strategic plan.

Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU:
“And then there are the operational matters, and by year end we would expect to have a clearly defined vision and mission statement and an operational structure that speaks to SARU’s strategic goals.” Away from the top end of the sport, SARU is doing a lot of work at grassroots level to ensure the game’s success for future generations. The dissolving of the old commercial arm (SA Rugby (Pty) Ltd) into SARU will be significant in all this, says Roux.

“Developing and fostering the game at a grassroots level had been separated out from promotion and commercial development of the game at an elite level and obviously the synergies between the two had been lost. What the change allows is the reintegration of all elements into more streamlined and focused units in which both of the former arms can benefit. We’re now in a position where the boundaries have gone and we’re much better placed to develop the game and exploit the opportunities that arise, whether they be in grassroots development programmes or in maximising returns from commercial opportunities.”

“The organisation had been divided into a professional arm, SA Rugby (Pty) Ltd, to look after commercial brands – wholly owned by SARU – which looked after amateur rugby and the development side of the game. The organisation had two governance structures and two operational  heads as well as separate operations staff, although some services were shared between the two. Removing that duplication and aligning the organisation’s goals has been a significant change,” Roux explains.

The South Africa Rugby Players association recently also won their arbitration case against SARU.

According to SARPA CEO Piet Heymans, the arbitration award is a victory for players in the country. “The arbitration award confirms that the Collective Agreement is binding on SARU and that SARPA is entitled to representation on the SARU Executive Council.

” Heymans said in a statement. What this all means for the future of SA rugby is still to be seen. It is all good and well they started with the streamlining of the operational aspects and looking toward the development of grass roots level, but yet no confirmation that the people employed by SARU are there for the good of the game”.

Coaching appointments and reasons for appointing coaches including player selection policy
SARU has to decide whether their priority is to be the best rugby team in the world, or whether their priority is to appease the politicians. They cannot do both at international level. In a sport as competitive as rugby is, the game of inches cannot be won when quality is compromised. The Springboks is an international brand and competes against the best in the world, no other country puts politics ahead of their national team. The same principal applies to selection of the squad. Selecting just one player for the sake of representation has such a knock-on effect it can destroy the team ethos.

Getting Franchises to work with Springbok rugby
How many times have we heard that Peter de Villiers requested a franchise to play a certain player in a specific position? How many times has there been a call of managing of players? If there is no collective agreement on what the end goal is, then SARU needs to gain control of the franchises to facilitate their ultimate requirements. If not, then the status quo will remain.

Currie Cup
Where do you fit in your premier domestic competition?

My solution – it needs to somehow form part of the Super Rugby competition, perhaps change the Conference system to be only domestic teams and then have qualifiers proceed to a super 12 round robin.

Vodacom Cup
This is really only a development tool for the players not involved in the Super Rugby tournament. If the top 8 Premier Currie cup teams are pulled into the Super Rugby tournament, then use this as a development tool for the other 6 provinces and add not only the Pampas and Namibia, but perhaps use this as an opportunity to bring in Kenya and Morocco as well.

International windows
Looking at next year’s fixtures, there is not enough time to complete any tournament before the June test wondow, there is then a 7 week gap to the Four Nations and then four weeks later the tour to Europe. Why not move the June test series by 4 weeks to July. This then means the Test series begins in July and is good preparation for the Four Nations three weeks later.

This allows 20 weeks for the Super Rugby competition in which every format is selected beginning the first week of February.

The format of the current Super Rugby Conference System is flawed. Change the Conference format so that each Conference includes only domestic teams of each country. Let them play out a single round robin and the top four teams of each Conference qualifies for the super 12’s, these Franchises can then play a single round robin for qualifying for the knock-out matches.

This will enable more teams to be involved in the Super Rugby format and spread the talent to more teams as they will have more money and you won’t end up with one Franchise sitting with 2 or sometimes 3 of the best players in one position.

Example: If the 8 Premier Currie Cup teams play a single round robin against every opponent, it will take seven weeks to conclude. Then the top four goes into a single round robin with the other top 4 teams of Australia and New Zealand. You will have twelve teams playing a single round robin of eleven matches. Add to that the two weeks for knock-out matches and you have your 20 week window filled.

Once the Super Rugby Tournament is concluded, the Winter Tours can commence after a two week preparation, then the Four Nations after another three week recovery and preparation period and then onto the European Tours.

In my opinion this will reduce the number of matches played by top players, and the domestic season will be out of the way by the time the international season starts. It will also give more exposure to more teams by combining the Currie Cup Premier teams (in the case of New Zealand the ITM Cup teams) and Australia can run a Conference with however many teams they can muster.

The Vodacom Cup can then run during the same time as the Super Rugby competition, and in all likelyhood with 6 teams from South Africa and adding Namibia, Pampas, Kenya and Morocco – a double round robin competition can be accommodated.

This way we help Africa develop as well, and we can always have a promotion-relegation for our two top Vodacom Cup teams against the 2 worst performing Super Rugby Conference teams at the end of the two competitions.

Anyway just some thoughts.

28 Responses to Restructuring of SARU, Currie Cup, Super Rugby and the whole bang shoot !

  • 1

    I have advocated widely for the Currie Cup Premier Division games to be intermingled / form part of the Domestic Super Rugby Conference games.

    …. I see one serious flaw though in your reasoning…

    After the Single Round Robin Super Rugby / Currie Cup fixtures, 4 sides will go on to compete in the Super 12 stages of Super Rugby (and we will sit with a similar situation in New Zealand and Australia). What happens to the sides who have now fallen out? Do they just sit and rest during the whole Super 12 stages?

    What is the solution for them? Remember there might and will be Springboks amongst them, who will now sit bone idle for weeks and weeks and weeks.

    A possible solution would be to have them go on in a Super Rugby Bowl or Plate competition…. 4 teams from SA, 4 from New Zealand and 4 from Australia… but where will Australia find 4 such sides… 5 Super Rugby sides was already a massive stretch?

    Whatever the solution, some method of integrating the Currie Cup into the Super Rugby structures will have to be achieved, somehow.

  • 2

    Maybe Samoa, Tonga & Fiji can take part in the Australian Conference, to bring them to 8 sides (5 Australian Super Franchises PLUS the 3 Pacific Island Franchises).

    Call them the Samoan Devils, Tongan Warriors and Fijian Monsters… or something like that… as Franchises.

  • 3

    Some very good points raised, but it is all way above my head to try and work it out, but also agree, it is a mess at the moment. I do however yearn for the old test series that we used to have, can you boys find a spot for those too please!

  • 4

    That will at the same time strenghten the rugby in the Pacific Islands….

    So, all Southern Hemisphere rugby could benefit… but what about the Argentinians?

  • 5

    The only real solution ultimately would also encompass ONE GLOBAL RUGBY SEASON…. starting in February and running till the First week in December.

    Will the Northern Hemisphere go for it?
    Will it suit sponsors and Commercial Interests?

  • 6

    maklik stuur sanzar in sy peetjie in ontrek van tri nations en super reeks.maak die cc die belangrikste komp in sa en bring tradisionele toere terug

  • 7

    GBS, good to see you back, yes, whilst you were away, the site deteriorated into anarchy, and only a timely return has saved it from a “keo-esk” hole of doom! I hope Sin City was good, but now you have your work cut out, trying to re-install normality again!

  • 8

    7 @ Just For Kicks:
    Sin City was good… did not have time to gamble (throw money away).

    I was a bit let down in the way it functioned in my absense….

    Anyway, want to make you and Young Turk a proposition, the 2 of you have become stalwarts on the site and are level-headed fellas… would you like to become authors on the site? Maybe you could be our 2 WP correspondents and bring all the Cape News for us?

    Suffice to say, I won’t allow anarchy to take effect on Rugby-Talk… no ways!

  • 9

    @ grootblousmile:
    GBS, having a bowl competition with the other 4 teams and have australia include Fiji, Samoa and Tonga is a great idea, specifically as the broadcasters will surely buy into it as well.

  • 10

    Man , how I hate it when someone has a better idea than me. Wink

  • 11

    I can only speak for myself and say that I am not sure your’e on the money with your “level headed” bit, although with Young Turks ability to lose things under his desk, and amongst the cushions on his sofa, I am not so sure about him either!!!! Would love to help out in any way I can.

  • 12

    9 & 10 @ biltongbek:

    See, thinking is not a new experience to me… I’ve actually done it before… and it’s worked!

  • 13

    Have to skidaddle to Midrand and Pretoria quickly….

    Will do the usual thing, ride about six inches off the tarmac…. low flying!

    Chat later!

  • 14

    @ grootblousmile:
    Well based on the fact that you played rugby in a prior life, i didn’t expect you to be sharp.
    A little bright maybe, but not sharp. Tounge-Out

  • 15

    11 @ Just For Kicks:
    Kickers… will take it up with you on mail… it’s actually easy… if Biltonge can do it, then anybody can!

  • 16

    14 @ biltongbek:
    I should have been twins… far too sharp for just one individual…


    Hey, ek moet boggeroffski….

  • 17

    14 @ biltongbek:
    Hold on to the thoughts of being SHARP….. I’ll explain it later….

  • 18

    Agree GBS, a global season would work wonders, with specific dates set for internationals, like they do in soccer. That way we can have our local and international comps, inc S15 and 4N etc. Just a pity we don’t do those traditional tours anymore.

  • 19

    15@ grootblousmile:Will wait for your email then

  • 20

    @ grootblousmile:
    Ciao Gbs. Would like to help out in any way I can but bear in mind, I am more of an internationalist than a purely local province boytjie.

  • 21

    20 @ The_Young_Turk:
    So then, you could keep us abreast of Euro Rugby and UK Rugby… not keep us abreast of the breasts of the Italian ladies… hehehe

  • 22

    Turk, I don’t know about the other guys, but I am no journalist, Just a passionate and opinionated blogger.

  • 23

    grootblousmile wrote:

    I was a bit let down in the way it functioned in my absense….

    Sorry Sir , but i never offered to do the afternoon games. My whole family was out there 20 kms from town painting , washing and cleaning my business venture, i had to be there. No TV there. Yet.

    The treatment Old Kwas received was from one person that i could pick up, that was seen very late and i was not in the mood or state of mind to asses the situation, and kept myself out of it.
    And also dead tired.

  • 24

    22 @ biltongbek:
    Biltonge, none of us were journalists at the start of this web site, least of all myself… but it does get easier and easier as time goes on, does’nt it?

    The Interface to do the Articles is also a breeze once you get the simple hang of it!

  • 25

    Yep, it does get easier, I find it simple and quick to post an article these days, problem for me is I tend to wear my opinions on my sleeve

  • 26

    25 @ biltongbek:
    We all wear our opinions on our sleeve, that’s why we’re passionate rugby supporters!

    Maybe exactly this is why Rugby-Talk is liked so much… because we drip with passion for the game and are not stoid journalists who have to tread the water carefully for their paymasters, the main stream media.

    Are’nt they sometimes, well mostly, too diplomatic in their approach… with this I mean the overly correctness in rugby TV programs like Boobs & All & Superrugby. Sometimes I feel like telling those guys just to say it like they mean it, like they feel it…

    Same applies to the Newspaper fellas…

  • 27

    Yes, absolutely I agree. I am so fedup of this nonsense where they aren’t allowed to criticise anyone. For me they have lost all credibility.

    Maybe that is why it was so refreshing to hear the coaches on Masterplan NZ talk some hard facts and truths

  • 28

    @ biltongbek:
    I think if we wanted journalism we’d read the newspapers. As has been said here before the media today are afraid of expressing their opinions and upsetting the powers that be. As long as one is not offensive, and can take valid criticism, it’s nice to read a passionate opinion.


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