Tony McKeever

SA Rugby’s precedent — pride or prejudice?

éRegan Hoskins Mark Alexander

On March 5, SA Rugby nominations for President, Deputy President and Vice President, must be received in writing, from both the nominees accepting the nomination, as well as those doing the nomination, for the SA Rugby elections that will take place on the March 26.

It is really quite simple. SA Rugby’s 14 unions each have 2 votes and the individual with a majority of 15 out of 28 votes wins.

It is without doubt one of the most important watershed moments in the annals of South African rugby, as the new leadership comprising the President, Deputy President and Vice President, will assume office for a term of 4 years through till 2014. These 3 individuals will comprise the SA Rugby leadership triumvirate, which will take SA Rugby into the future, with either some limp wristed chatter of promises, or a powerful credible team that will make bold progressive changes to and enhance SA Rugby.

Candidates who have made themselves available for election so far, are Oregan Hoskins, who has been SA Rugby President for four years (two terms of two years each), Mark Alexander, a serial administrator in other sports, who has been Deputy President for two years and Rautie Rautenbach who has been a figure head for 2 years as Vice President, the most notable contribution is attending a Confederation of African Rugby, as the SA Rugby representative in Dakar, Senegal, last year.

Again each of these three have, over the past two weeks, let it be known, that they will also stand for any other presidential position, as it is just way too intoxicating a feeling to not consider being in the mix.

Oregan Hoskins, from the Sharks, is a nice guy, however he was first elected to stand opposite Brian van Rooyen in February 2006, specifically because he was coloured, as the SA Rugby constitution at the time required that the three SA Rugby Presidential candidates comprise of a white, coloured and black, in no particular order. This was to particularly bring into effect, his mandate from his nominees and backers of the big five, which at the time was clear, prevent the Southern Spears from entering Super 14. This in effect started the clandestine collusion of the big five franchises, three of whom faced the very real prospect of relegation for two of the five years, out of the Super 14 from 2006 to 2010. A case of, All for one and one for All against the Eastern Cape.

The only reason this impasse and threat to all six Super rugby franchises came about which has been festering for four years, at a staggering cost of some R400-million to SA Rugby, is that no one has quite simply bothered to sit down and figure out how to embrace the six South African Super rugby franchises, to all play in international tournaments, and be of benefit to all of South African rugby.

Instead SA Rugby has lost close to a R500-million to exclude three of their own unions from Super rugby, instead of embracing them and yet still, to this very day, one reads the most appalling drivel and lame excuses about including the Eastern Cape as the sixth South African Super rugby franchise, in any exhibition game, except that of the Super 14 or Super 15.

Exactly one month after Hoskins was elected President in February 2006, he arrived in Port Elizabeth, on March 29 2006, to allegedly champion the way forward for the Eastern Cape’s Super Rugby ambitions and instead, excused himself early from the meeting, to take a helicopter ride to Alicedale to view the site of the new R30-million proposed SA Rugby Academy. Neither of these material and significant developments have taken place and SA Rugby has neither arranged an annual scheduled tournament for the sixth South African franchise, nor the R30-million intended for the Rugby Academy, which was used to buttress the SA Rugby balance sheet in 2008 to avoid declaring any losses.

To evaluate the merits of the three incumbents, who have put themselves up for election, again, it is probably best to look at a score sheet for Hoskins term of office over four years and Mark Alexander and Rautie Rautenbach over their term of office over two years, to evaluate what they have done or not done as administrators and then to look at the only alternative to salvage SA Rugby for the future.

Regan Hoskins — President of SA Rugby for 4 years 2006-2010

1. Eastern Cape franchise — Southern Spears — Loss of multiple High Court actions declaring the Southern Spears Super Rugby agreement legal and binding on SA Rugby — Cost to SA Rugby: R400-million
2. Serial violations of breaching the SA Rugby constitution with regards to binding agreements and President Council Resolutions
3. SA Rugby Academy — R30-million — scuppered
4. Cost of Pumas tour to South Africa — Loan from the International Rugby Board
5. Cost of the abandoned Ireland SA Test in Dubai — R9-million
6. A record Triple unreserved apology to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Sport for misrepresenting facts at a briefing.
7. Loss of R150-million revenues from SANZAR over five years to the NZ and Australia rugby unions by agreeing to give up 5% of broadcast revenues
8. Rugby World Cup Bid 2015 — Failed
9. Rugby World Cup Bid 2019 — Failed
10. Super 15 Rugby Franchise — Failed

Mark Alexander — Deputy President of SA Rugby for 2 years from 2008-2010

1. Chairman of EP Rugby charged with ensuring the province gets a Super Rugby franchise — Failed
2. Serial violations of breaching the SA Rugby constitution with regards to binding agreements and President Council Resolutions
3. Rugby World Cup Bid 2015 — Failed
4. Rugby World Cup Bid 2019 — Failed
5. No Southern Kings Franchise shareholders agreement
6. No Southern Kings President’s Council Resolution
7. Super 15 Rugby Franchise — Failed

Rautie Rautenbach – Vice President of SA Rugby for 2 years from 2008-2010

1. Serial violations of breaching the SA Rugby constitution with regards to binding agreements and President Council Resolutions.

So who then are the best Presidential candidates to lead SA Rugby out of this darkness?

Of all the 14 Provincial Rugby Union Presidents, plus the 3 Presidential incumbents (who are not allowed to vote), there is but one individual, who stands head shoulders above all 17 rugby Presidents, as the true bona fide rugby man and the only authentic and pedigreed Springbok amongst them and that man is — Kevin de Klerk — President of the Lions.

What better than a pedigreed rugby man to lead our rugby?

Combine Kevin de Klerk’s stature and leadership, with the continuity of knowledge and years of experience of SA Rugby’s administration, which Mike Stofile has and you have the perfect 1-2 combination to turn SA Rugby around in months, and to deliver healthy annual revenue streams to each of the 14 Unions.

Mike Stofile is a straight shooter and tells it like it is and has attended all the Presidential Council meetings at which key Resolutions and binding agreements have taken place and can offer an antidote and solution to the continuous conflict the sixth Eastern Cape Super rugby presents to SA Rugby.

Kevin de Klerk and Mike Stofile would be the powerful SA Rugby leadership combo, to lead SA Rugby out of this turmoil, with their strong and effective leadership, focusing on deliverables and fulfilment for the benefit of all SA Rugby.

Gone would be the flippant rhetoric and patronizing chit chat press releases, which are trotted out by SA Rugby’s media department at the behest of the incumbents.

The 14 SA Rugby unions who have two votes each, represent their clubs, who voted to put them there for the benefit of all SA Rugby, would be wise to heed the siren call of a Kevin de Klerk and Mike Stofile 1-2 combo for SA Rugby.

This combination alone would unlock the value and funding for ALL 14 Unions from corporates around South Africa and rid South African rugby from this perpetual conflict and hemorrhaging of cash.

Anything less and SA Rugby and its supporters will be faced with 4 more years of misery and a skint treasury.