Secret alliances control rugby


Rugby is seemingly controlled by a secret (white) mafia, well that is the view of Gary Boshoff in his latest News24 column


So transformation has been forced back onto SARU’s agenda after Happy Ntshingila of ABSA dared to pass a comment on the dominating paleness of the Currie Cup teams on display in the 2010 Currie Cup Competition.

I mean, how could the man be so stupid? He should have known better then to challenge the self-proclaimed holy grail of white sport in South Africa, especially when it comes to transformation and representation in the white man’s beloved pastime. How could he have been so naïve to think that just because ABSA plans to invest close to R200 million in rugby (over the next four years) that he, as Executive Director of Marketing and Corporate Affairs of ABSA, could suggest that his partners address the need for more and greater transformation in the sport? He should have known by now that these guys are only interested in his money and not his opinion!

In the commercial world of sport, money speaks loader then politics, tradition or religion and so it didn’t come as a surprise when just as soon as Afriforum started with an SMS campaign to protest against Happy Ntshingila’s comments, the bank’s deputy CEO Louis Von Greunen denied that ABSA was in favour of re-introducing quotas in rugby. He was obviously scared that the bank’s objective comments about the slow pace of transformation in rugby will cost the bank clients and thus impact on its profit margins.

Nevertheless, ABSA and for that matter its major shareholder, Barclays, also realises the importance of delivering on the mandate of a transforming South Africa, not only in the economic and political spheres of society, but also in the socio-cultural life of the populace, of which sport forms a central part. There is no way that ABSA can be seen to bankroll a sports organisation that still shows a reluctance to embrace the national imperative of transformation. I can just imagine the intensity of the debate.

Perhaps this deliberate attempt by ABSA to facilitate change in the structures of SARU will lead to more decisive action on transformation in the near future?

The challenge of transformation in rugby has been a long time coming, believe me. I was there when the first salvos were fired back in 1992 when the various federations reached a record of understanding on the imperative of transformation.  Since then we have had an accumulation of promises and excuses that has as of yet not produced the much talked about representation on the provincial and national level of the game. Representation at junior level has been adequate for many years, yet the majority of these players don’t make it through to their provincial sides, suggesting a glass ceiling for black players.

However, the truth is that even in provinces with black senior coaches and selectors, black representation has not grown at a faster pace than elsewhere, in turn suggesting an all round scarcity of quality black talent. Whatever the reason, as of late SARU has not shown the necessary urgency when dealing with this challenge, it has primarily been left up to the provinces to do their own thing.

Nevertheless, it was still very amusing (to me at least) to read about Hoskins’ letter to the provinces calling on them to address the important matter of transformation. This letter, obviously prompted by the comments of Happy Ntshingila does obviously not carry any urgency and will have little impact as Hoskins’ administration has had their heads buried in the sand on transformation for so long it is not hard to see the true motivation behind the letter – it was money (ABSA’s money) more than conviction that was talking (almost like Robert Mugabe agreeing to democratic elections to qualify for economic assistance from South Africa).

Transformation in rugby has never only been about numbers on the field of play, it has always been about fundamental change:  it was and is about the way the game is managed; about who gets elected and the power relations that governs the various alliances in this important institution of South African society.  The fact of the matter is that while the majority of rugby players and supporters in this country are black, the sport is still run and controlled by a small minority who through secret alliances control who gets elected into the decision-making structures of the sport.

Until these broader and fundamental transformational issues are addressed transparently and with the genuine intention to change rugby for the better, the sport will remain a contested terrain in South Africa.

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  1. Belief in conspiracy theories is a problem that many black people cannot seem to own up to… rather than admit the truth there is always some fantastic theory that “ebry un’s outta get me”

    You’re confirming stereotypes gary

    Grow up… get a life

  2. Dis nou een ou wie se goed ek nooit lees nie. Ongebalanseerd, voorbeoordeeld, insigloos en met ‘n moerse chip op sy skouer.

  3. I agree on the small group and alliances that control rugby, but I wonder where all those black supporters are hiding.

    Have never seen them at a game, not even in Soweto.

  4. Gary (as snor would put it) is a typical coconut… black when it suits him, white when it doesn’t…

    Don’t see any mention of the ‘real’ Black mafia mob controlling the PSL that have destroyed all junior structures and feeder systems in RSA soccer…

    Thank fark for this ‘purported’ small group of secret alliances that have kept Bok rugby consistently in the world’s top 3 ranked team when EVERY single other sporting entity in RSA has been on a downward spiral since 1994!

  5. “The fact of the matter is that while the majority of rugby players and supporters in this country are black…”

    So we keep hearing… just where are all these black ‘supporters’… Durban stadiums probably have the most multi-cultural mix of supporters at the Shark Tank… yet the numbers of black/indian/coloured fans are still in the minority…

    One only has to look at the games recently played in PE including the supposed ‘bastion of black rugby’ the EP Kings vs The British Lions for an example of what crap Boschoff et al speak…

    The team was predominantly white… and the black supporters in the stands scarce!

    “the sport is still run and controlled by a small minority who through secret alliances control who gets elected into the decision-making structures of the sport.”

    Interesting to note that from the head-coach (who fo a first in the history of the game has SOLE mandate over selection) to every single national coach at all age-groups is black… not too mention the head honcho of the entire circus namely Oregon Hoskins…

    Keep ‘playing the card’… one day you’ll get what you want and the Protea’s will be playing Uganda in the African Nations Cup after being knocked out by Kenya in the semi’s!

  6. Fok Kwotas! Fok BEE!

    Today there is not enough POC… tomorrow they want more African blacks… next year they want more Zulus in the team…

    It’s already happening in the business world. companies getting government tenders on the condition that they employ 80% African blacks and this in the western cape (which is predominantly colored).

  7. Saru should provide the facilities, the coaching clinics, and supporting structures for the previously disadvantaged schools and clubs and they will get POC that’s going to be good enough to make it on merit.

  8. One thing the current government is very good at is propaganda. For example they have convinced the majority of blacks that Helen Zille is a racist collaborator of the NP government, whereas they sweep her role in exposing the Biko saga under the carpet.

    Similarly I believe there is urban myth about the majority of black supporters. I guess it depends how you define supporter

  9. Reply to Bokhoring T @ 8:19 am:

    same as the myth thatCraven Week shows “burgeoning” black talent when we all know that USASSA sets almost impossible quota targets for participation and the unions out of necessity send substandard black players to participate and then when these High School substandard players fail at higher levels then somehow according to liberal airhead logic (i.e. Mark Keohane and friends) the blame game starts and the “establishment” (wink wink nudge nudge … i.e. white) is accused of “losing” it or “wasting” it or “not giving it a chance”… when the truth was that black “talent” would never have gotten into Craven Week without USASSA quotas in the first place because it is so piss poor compared to the white players.

    But then again the liberal mindset must never be accused of logic…

  10. Reply to DavidS @ 3:14 pm:

    I hear you and you are probably right in 90% of the time.
    However I believe WP this year had to use “reverse quotas” not to have 10 POCs
    in the side.
    POC clubs are by far the majority in the WC.