SARU CEO speaks to the fans


Newly appointed SARU CEO, Jurie Roux answered some of the supporters questions posed to him.

SA Rugby

Question: My question is, what is SARU doing to transform the game? When I talk about transformation I’m not referring to colour…I mean taking the game to the poor and previously disadvantaged is all good and well, but I am also talking about schools and other South Africans that has never been transformed into loving the amazing game of rugby and what it teaches us as a whole. – Remi Clarke (a similar question was posted by MD Lichakane.

Jurie answers: Transformation can be a polarising issue but it’s not for me or for SARU. In fact it’s very simple, rugby is not a game for white people and nor is it a game for black people – it is a game for all South Africans and our constitution charges us to “foster, promote, regulate and encourage the playing of rugby and provide facilities for rugby in South Africa…for all persons irrespective of rtace, colour, creed or gender. If you click here, you will get our constitution – clauses 4 and 5 it is made very plain.

Vraag: Ek ken nie die kontrakte se inhoud nie maar wat van die volgende: Met die klubkampioenskap op Stellenbosch op Vrydag ‘n paar weke gelede is die Matie vaskop ook die vaskop vir Griekwas op dieselfde dag teen WP? Mnr Adriaanse. Hoor graag van jou. – Brian Strydom

Jurie antwoord: Geagte Brian, ek vermoed jy praat van die Adriaanse-broers. Lourens het vir Maties gespeel en sy ouer broer Jacobie vir Griekwas. Snaaks genoeg is Lourens volgende jaar deur Griekwas gekontrakteer en ek verneem Jacobie is op pad na die Leeus toe.

Question (shortened): With the end of year tour coming up will there be a mix of young and old players in the bunch? To het combinations ready to be able to field two relatively strong Springbok teams comes next year’s World Cup? Will this team if we go that route be competitive? – Etienne Rossouw

Jurie answers: Hi Etienne, my job is to make SARU run as a business to support the aims of the constitution and it’s not to direct playing strategy or selection. That remains the responsibility of the coach and the selectors and I will support them in their strategy in any way I can. It’s their call but I would just say that the only thing that matters for Springbok supporters is winning the next Test.

Vraag As oud-Matie (ek was daar in die vroeg tot middel 80s), is ek baie bly dat jy die pos gekry het. Baie geluk met die aanstelling. Wat dink jy is die grootste uitdaging vir die pos wat jy nou beklee? Groete en sterkte. – Charles Mangold

Jurie antwoord: Charles, ek het hier begin en geglo dis die beste werk in sport en dat SARU een van die sportliggame in die land is wat die beste bestuur word. Ek het nog nie my gedagtes verander in die kort tyd wat ek hier is nie en ek is seker ons kan dinge na die volgende vlak neem – maar ek het ook besef die grootsheid van die posisie is ‘n baie groot uitdaging. Die vereistes en behoeftes van die spel en om dit in balans te hou met die benodigdhede van ons interne en eksterne aandeelhouers maak van dit ‘n fassinerende en uitdagende verantwoordelikheid.

And, for our English readers – I arrived here believing this was the best job in sport and that SARU is actually one of the best-run sports federations in the country. My mind has not changed in the short time I been here and I’m sure we will even got to the next level – but I have also discovered that the biggest challenge is the scale of the job. The demands and the needs of the game and balancing the requirements of our internal and external stakeholders make it a fascinating and challenging responsibility.

Question (shortened): What are your plans on addressing the transformation issue as I think it’s the main reason why SA Rugby’s strategies are failing? Also I think much more needs to be done to support black players after leaving school. – Peter du Preez

Jurie answers: Hi Peter, you obviously have first-hand knowledge of how the game operates at the grassroots level and you make some pertinent points – but I have to challenge you on one. I don’t believe SARU’s strategies are failing – but they have needed and are being refined to be more results oriented. The issue of player development is one that is always on our agenda and in 2011 we will be further re-defining those strategies so that the good work that is being done is actually seen on the fields.

Question: Many congratulations on your appointment as CEO, I’ve seen the tangible impact you’ve made in Stellenbosch and know you’ll do the same at SARU. My question is simple, what is your plans for club rugby in S.A, especially in the rural areas. – Jerome Simmery (and Johan Scholtz similarly)

Jurie answerslaughear Jerome. Coming from a club rugby background and environment it is obviously important to me but it is also high on the agenda of the Game and Policies Committee and was discussed as recent as last week. There is currently a proposal circulating in terms of the revamp of club rugby. The need to uplift club rugby like Varsity Cup did for student rugby is high on our agenda.

Question: The SWD Eagles once again show their supremacy in the first division of the Absa currie Cup, why not put support structure in place from SARU to assist them, and give all the talented passion full youngsters a change to fulfil their dreams. Please accept the current not profitable, none financial greedy, management that do have a huge passion for the development the sport in all areas. ALL finals in the different leagues where well organise and WELL attend for the first time in the history of SWD. More than 8000 spectators attend last week premier finals between Barbarians of Mossel Bay and Greatbrakriver. All indications that everything is indeed well in SWD.- Nolan Arends.

Jurie answers: Dear Nolan, it’s good to hear of your experiences but I think the point has to be made that the 14 provincial unions are responsible for the development and administration of rugby in their boundaries and that they are equally resourced by SARU to deliver on that responsibility.

Question: Please make away with the end of year tours and have the Springboks play in the whole Currie Cup. Or if they tour, let it be a Gazelle or u/23 SA side not the S’Boks. Then the Top players can rest in November and December. The Cheetahs would have been 5th if the S’Boks played in the CC. Now they play in the finals of the CC to come last again in the Super 15 next year? Take away the Quota system in all forms of rugby!!! Choose young black teams to participate at club and Vodacom level to test their abilities and to nurture and coach them. If they are good they will progress to the CC and Super teams?? – Mark Kruger

Jurie answers: HI Mark, inbound and outbound tours are what made the Springboks great in the first place. They date back to 1891 in South Africa and are managed and administered by the IRB – who would only do away with them if there was a desire from all the major rugby playing nations to do so. In this professional age the income they generate – both for hosting provinces here and for the hosting unions overseas – are essential in paying players and continuing to put on the spectacle we so enjoy. The problem is not the tours, it is the volume of rugby in total and that does need to be addressed. And, Mark, I don’t know who you’ve been listening to but there are no quotas in rugby.

Question: When are we going to allow the people that count in rugby (players and supporters) a say over the springbok emblem? It has moved from the chest to the sleeve, next move is to the shorts followed by it been excluded for ever. At present, the only people who have input are the politicians (Most of whom openly admit to been All Black supporters) and SA Rugby administrators (who cow tow to the politicians). – Dave Knott-Craig (and Kevin Rack similarly)

Jurie answers: Dear Dave, the move to the sleeve is only for the Rugby World Cup and was the last resort after all other avenues were exhausted. Any rugby supporter who had taken part in the debate would have been left without any choice – as was the Executive Council.

Question: Trust you well sir, please bring back the club sevens we use to have annually in the Western Cape & introduce a provincial series as our current system is not supporting the national coach. I also believe a craven week will be introduced next year so this ideal opportunity for seniors to be involved. So this will also ensure coaches like myself that ideally just want to focus in 7s can grow & even be part of the Olympic games in the future. We had a great chat in Morocco & I’m sure you will make a difference with your business mind set & not make political decisions. All the best & please share you ideas with me. – Bronson

Jurie answers Nice to hear from you Bronson. We are currently busy with our planning for next year and we are reconsidering all levels of participation including sevens. Can’t share anything yet but watch this space.

Question:As CEO and in the interest of transformation, what are you going to do to have Currie Cup, Super 14 and Springbok games broadcast on national TV, just as soccer is doing, so that the millions of underprivileged, but potential rugby afficionados can also see the game and so cultivate love and interest for it, instead of just having them broadcast on SuperSport for the privileged few, as is currently the case? Groete (en sterkte). – Naas Ferreira

Jurie answers: Dear Naas, this is an on-going conversation and I don’t have an immediate answer for you. But we are aware of the need to promote rugby to the public through free-to-air channels, but those broadcasters also need to have an appetite to show our sport.

Question:It is very apparent when watching the All Blacks play that their bench is not only filled with young players, but it’s ever-changing with strong talent. Compare that to the Springbok bench and it’s very predictable. This begs the question as to why the Bok selectors (and necessary management) are not bringing up new talent to the highest level as rapidly as the All Blacks. Or, put another way: What’s the process for identifying new talent? There is evidently some bottleneck. – Glenn Abel

Jurie answers: Hi Glenn, definitely a question for the selectors and coach to respond on – not the CEO!

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  1. “And, Mark, I don’t know who you’ve been listening to but there are no quotas in rugby.”

    No just an expectation by the politicos of a number of POC players