Home Laws and Technical Issues BokSmart a huge success

BokSmart a huge success


The South African Rugby Union soared to a landmark target this week when the 10,000th rugby official was trained on the BokSmart national rugby safety programme, proudly sponsored by Absa.


The achievement leaves the BokSmart programme on track to realise its ambitious target of certifying a minimum of 20,000 coaches and referees by end of November, before major new rugby safety regulations come into force at all levels of the game in 2011.

“A year ago no rugby coach or referee had been formally trained in the safe application of the Laws and of training techniques, injury prevention and injury management strategies, so to have come so far, so fast is a major achievement,” said Oregan Hoskins, president of the South African Rugby Union (SARU).

“We’re immensely proud of our BokSmart project and the new regulations to promote safer rugby – some of which has already been implemented. Next year no coach or referee will be able to operate in rugby unless they have been certified on the BokSmart programme.

“That requires thousands of training hours and a huge commitment from the whole rugby community and I’d like to applaud those who have already taken the course and thank our provinces for working so hard to ensure that their coaches and referees come up to speed with BokSmart.”

The key regulations to come into force next year include:

  • Provinces, clubs, rugby bodies and schools shall not be allowed to host any match without ensuring that all match officials and participating coaches are BokSmart certified.
  • Provinces, clubs, rugby bodies and schools must comply with the BokSmart regulations and ensure that they inform all their members of the regulations and their obligation.
  • Provinces, clubs, rugby bodies and schools must ensure that all affiliated match officials and coaches are BokSmart certified and their details recorded.

New BokSmart regulations already in force for the first time this season are:

  • Players younger than 18 years old shall not be allowed to play senior rugby (U20 and above) in any position, at any level of rugby under the auspices of SARU or any of its provincial unions, without special waiver.
  • Players younger than 19 years old shall not be allowed to play senior rugby (U20 and above) in the front row at any level of rugby under the auspices of SARU or any of its provincial unions, without special waiver.
  • Only players who have been identified within the provincial or national structures with the potential to play at elite provincial level or above can apply for a waiver.

“These new regulations are planned to ensure the safety of all rugby players at all levels of play within South Africa,” said Dr Wayne Viljoen, SARU’s BokSmart project manager. “The primary focus is not to soften the game of rugby, but to eliminate unnecessary and avoidable serious or catastrophic head, neck and spine injuries from the game.

“This means preparing well, playing as hard as possible, but playing ‘Smart’ and within the Laws of the game.

“Player safety is one of SARU’s highest priorities and by making it so we will continue to attract more quality players to the game that will keep South Africa placed as a dominant force in World rugby. The introduction of the BokSmart National Rugby Safety programme means that rugby has never been safer! But we’re still appealing to everyone in the game to make sure that all your rugby coaches and referees are BokSmart certified.”

Rugby lovers in KwaZulu-Natal can find out more about the BokSmart programme at the third of four public information sessions spread around the country, which is being held at Absa Stadium in Durban on the evening of July 12.

This information session is free. To register for this session or for more details, contact BokSmart HQ at 021-659 6732, or via email at BokSmart@sarugby.co.za. Seats are limited.

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  1. Something that needs to be implemented here! Do all games (school/clubs) in SA have 1st aid officials or more present? We don’t, we usually have a player or to who are medical students or similar and they take care of anything that comes up. Sometimes a dad helps out who is a doc.
    We just can’t afford to have a medical team or ambulance at the games.

  2. Reply to JT @ 9:52 am:

    We have a volunteer first aider at every match and next year we plan on having a physio once a week at the club. The deal being that she will check injuries and treat some of the niggles, but any long term stuff she picks up the payments on.

  3. Reply to JT @ 9:57 am:

    luckly for us Military is compulsory here and the 1st thing they do at the army is learn 1st aid. This gives everyone a basic knowhow of what to do when some sort of injury happens but as coach and organizer I always dread something bad would happen and we do not have an ambulance at the ready. I am trying to change that but it is a question of money. We are talking of about 300 to 500 Euro per game.

  4. Reply to Ollie @ 10:00 am:

    It ultimately remains the responsibility of the host club or school, and the match official of the day to ensure this is in place before the game goes ahead.

    But I would think it happens more than not as I have witnessed this personally and most games have this in place.

    A referee can refuse to let the game go ahead if he is not satisfied with the safety requirements being in place – the host school or club will then forfeit their points.

  5. Reply to JT @ 10:10 am:

    You national body and/or government must support this, i.e. get this semi-sponsored.

    If you go at it on your own, you are screwed – government and union funds must supplement it.

  6. Reply to Morné @ 10:13 am:

    When I was at school I know we had the St Johns first aiders around and there was always an ambulance around.

    But there were definitely occasions when playing away from home against the smaller schools or mid-week games that there was no ambulance or 1st aid. But then again, i am talking 20+ years ago

  7. Reply to Morné @ 10:13 am:

    you would think hey :roll: Here rugby not really on the radar – much better now than 10 years ago but still way behind. We don’t even get pitches for our League games and have to beg for one outside of Innsbruck :evil:
    HOWEVER – when we started this club 13 years ago we had to play on a piece of ground half way up the mountain in the forest! No running water, no ficilities at all! now at least we have a training ground (astro turf) which we share with 6 soccer clubs in Innsbruck.

    Slowly we are getting things into place but still a looong way off to where we want to be.

  8. Reply to Ollie @ 10:16 am:

    Same here – can’t remember having that all the time at our school games but this is in the 80’s. Did have it on some big sporting days when we played another school and all age groups played. Great times

  9. Reply to JT @ 10:18 am:

    Ever thought about partnering with a hollistic sporting body, like department of sports and recreation and make a case for something like this for both soccer and rugby then both can state their cases to the national governing body?

  10. Reply to Morné @ 10:21 am:

    I don’t think that the soccer lads can justify an ambulance for a bruised ego just because his acting performance was not good enough to get a free kick :pot:

  11. Reply to Morné @ 10:21 am:

    We do that – but these bodies are so entrenched with older more established clubs/sports/politics that we always get left out. Especially when it comes to pitches for games: No way in hell anyone is willing to give us a pitch.
    The city has given us a pitch a few times and we packed it with 300 odd spectators in IBK and made enough profit to last us a half a season but the soccer teams have complained about us destroying the pitch and we have not been able to play there since.
    Austria are around 90th in World rugby so that gives you an idea on where we are in the country as a sporting body…

  12. Reply to Morné @ 10:35 am:

    hahaha! That is a different issue! We do get funds from both, of course in “we” I mean “the Austrian Union” of which we have received as a club… wait for it… 10 wait for it… BALLS! Not 10 Grand or 10 tacklebags or but 10 Balls! That is IT! All the money supposedly goes into youth developement and national team commitments. Both have to travel to play in different qualification games and other stuff but the clubs get fokkol!
    Sorry that is not true – we got 10 BALLS! :realangry:

  13. Reply to JT @ 10:32 am:

    JT, it took the club I am at 20 years to get it’s own field and club house. It was done with help from the local town hall, they still mow the grass ( at soccer pitch length :roll: ) and pick up the electricity bill and some other odds and end I think.

    The rest was raised the hard way and the I think the bank manager is still getting a little.

  14. Reply to Ollie @ 10:38 am:

    we at least do not have any credit and run our club on a “if we can’t pay for it we can’t do it” policy. To risky going the other way.
    We are actually in negotiations (that do not seem to be going anywhere) to get our own ground with clubhouse etc. BUT to be able to do this we need to raise a substantial amount… The problem is that it is outside of IBK and if we move we will have to change our name and then we lose the city’s backing which has been substatial regarding our training ficilaties.

    Decisions decisions…

  15. Reply to Morné @ 10:54 am:

    a suggestion is doing the rounds to split the league from the national team set-up.
    Where the money is allocated to each group that way the league will be able to get some money and also able to search for League sponsors which will invest in the clubs and not be filtered off for the NT.
    Who is going to run it is a different question! To many people wants this and that but noone willing to do the work. Loads of ideas flying around but no practical solutions.

  16. Reply to Morné @ 10:58 am:

    no but easier said than done – especially in this financial climate.
    Again only soccer teams get coverage and only if you know certain people you will be considered.
    We are close to signing a new sponsor (Beer company) and will reveal all when it is signed and delivered

  17. Reply to JT @ 11:03 am:

    More often than not you will only find that your club will go somewhere only when you have a person, with influence either politically, financially or of some standing in society openly has affinity for the sport and your club specifically.

    Only people with influence are able to influence those or others around them.

    Get one of your players to screw the mayor’s daughter and get her preggers!!!

  18. Reply to JT @ 11:10 am:

    Even better…

    A father can disown a daughter…

    But if you get your mayor preggers…

    You will be known as the ‘father’ of rugby for Innsbruck for more than just the obvious reasons…

  19. JT –

    I suppose there is no
    chance of getting some
    medical aid coverage
    for the players at an
    affordable rate?
    Or is medical care free
    in any case?

    Sounds if you really need
    a benefactor with vision,
    money and clout.

    Mind you, scrap the vision
    – you can supply that.

  20. Reply to Boertjie @ 11:27 am:

    medical aid: the benefit of living in a socialist leaning country. All basic medical care is free but I do encourage all players to take extra insurance. This will cover any loss of employment etc.

    What my club needs is enough money to employ the coach full time – then he can take on a lot of other extra jobs like Youth developement, sponsor hunt, fighting politicians etc.

  21. Reply to Ollie @ 11:33 am:

    Up to this season that was me ;-), Coach, president, manager, waterboy etc.
    I have given it up this year and next to take a break after doing that for most of the last 13 years. The new president is leaving IBK in 2 years and if I have had enough “rest” will take over again – that is if we can’t find a better man for the job until then.

  22. Reply to JT @ 11:36 am:

    Involve the direct rugby community dude! Give them a sense of ownership of their own club.

    Involve player’s wives even, share the responsibility.

    Yes you will knock your head a couple of times with people too lazy to work but you can always work them out of the system in time – but you cannot do this on your own – you will kill yourself.

  23. Reply to Morné @ 11:40 am:

    that is why I have given it up for now – the new guy is good at getting more guys involved but some things never change – ie lazy! But work in progress.

    Ownership of the club – sounds good but tough deal to sell if you do not have a “home”. We need a clubhouse!!! A pub is ok but no REAL home where we can get the broader comunity to come for a braai or something similar.

    But thanks for the ideas/tipps – all being taken to heart even if most oif it is nothing new keep it coming there might be a pearl in there somewhere! :respek:

  24. Reply to JT @ 11:19 am:

    JT I kick myself everyday for not bookmarking a reference to JW from a chief TA analyst back in the late 90’ties where this oke reckoned JW would become a force (was on 365), and gave his (JW’s) predictions… and low and behold…

    We aren’t talking a tokoloshe!

  25. Killing myself: Last year december I was close to leaving the club completely! Did not want to go on with it because I was burnt out. This was our tour to Italy but as I gave it all up we still had that final game on tour that I was coach of and the buzz before and during the game was sooo good that I decided to stay on as coach only. Somthing you can’t explain and just need to experience. Coaching a team is something special for me, even more special than playing was.
    But building up a club from scratch in a country that does not know its arse from its elbow when it comes to rugby and taking that club to 2 finals – is the best feeling ever!!

  26. Try a few Saffa ideas:

    Put a tent up and have
    a braai.

    Invite some guys
    that can solve problems,
    get them informed – i.e.
    show them some highlight
    tapes of what the game is

    Get the ladies to bake
    koeksisters and sell them
    on the sidewalk for funds.

    Ditto with boerewors rolls.

    OK, I know this is goat droppings
    and not pearls – just showing my

    Hard to give advice if you don’t
    know the setup/community.

  27. Reply to Boertjie @ 12:15 pm:

    Actualy we are organizing just that for next weekend!
    This weekend is the Austrian AGM and then we do our meeting to discuss next season. This will be pratnered with a braai

    At least we are all thinking along the same lines here when it comes to some things!

  28. I’ve asked 365 for the footage… to no avail… it was 2003 and JW was predicting exactly what was what!

  29. Get more than one sponsor. Getting a bit of money from more than one company is way easier than getting a ton of money from one. Our jersey over here in France almost look like a F1 suit – it is full of company logo’s.




    I’m the guy chocking the crap out of the other guy.
    Also above the number is a name – but not of the player – they get a company to pay to have their name on the back of the jersey.

    The more the company pays then the bigger the sign etc.

    We have a doctor, physio and osteopath present at 95% of the game – guys who are payed for by the club. Also the local Mairie has a salle de musculation – a gym – where all the players can go for free. Quite a good setup.

    As for making the game safer – at this level – no scrum more than 1,5 m. If the scrum falls one time it gets reset and it is a simile, uncontested scrum. Squeeze ball is illegal – gets you a penalty against you. You learn to place the ball very quickly.

    Here is a little video.


  30. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 12:51 pm:

    the Video I have is made by and moderated by Mallett and Joubert. Explaining what SARU want the clubs and schools want from the coaches, what to focus on at training and basic skills. this was the time when Mallett was very dissapointed in the lack of basic skills sets that the Bokke were showing. The video focuses on how to coach these skills to youngsters.
    Great video allthough a bit short and a bit to basic for my liking but the idea was there.

  31. Reply to Methos @ 12:56 pm:

    Hi Methos,

    We are going in the multi sponsor direction and we have 3 signed up already and the big one (the beer company) is about to be finalized.

    Last season we had the same approach but lucky that the 1st sponsor we went to bought all the “advertising” spaces on the jerseys. but when they changed management and decided not to sponsor us again we were left with nothing and had to start all over again.

    We have a partnership with a gym – costs us about 2K a year but 3 players can go at anytime to the gym and after that the next 3 etc. Helps with some guys who are motivated but others don’t even bother…

  32. Do the name thing on the back – 400 to 500 euro for each for the year…

    Piet se Pizza’s
    Frikkie se Mechanic shop…


  33. Reply to JT @ 1:21 pm:

    Maybe also get a sponsor
    which can in turn be
    supported visually by the
    Bar, Eatery, whatever.

    And make use of the press,
    don’t dodge them.

  34. Former Springbok fullback Russell Bennett has presented the class of 2010 with their match jerseys ahead of Test against Italy.
    Scratching the bottom of
    the barrel, are they?

  35. Games on TV this weekend:
    Saturday 26th June:
    New Zealand v Wales,
    Australia v Ireland ,
    South Africa v Italy,
    Argentina v France

    Sunday 27th June:
    Japan v Tonga,
    Fiji v Samoa

  36. News just in from SARugby is that Beast has been granted SA Citizenship and is available for Springbok selection. More to follow…

  37. Reply to Methos @ 12:56 pm:

    Are the crowds always that small?

    If nobody is watching, the sponsors do not get any benefits.

    High schools here sell tickets and they get usually get several thousand spectators at football games.

  38. Reply to fyndraai @ 3:12 am:

    The crowd on the far side is the bit in the sun so most of the people sit on the main pavilion.
    Also this game was against one of the weaker sides in the competition so attendance is a bit lower. We normally get around 500 to 700 for a normal game and for games against good sides you get around 1000 to 1500 with most being around 2000.
    In a Village that has 20 000 people that is not bad at all I think, and kids enter for free.


  39. Reply to Methos @ 8:05 am:

    for comparison we get 50 to 100 on our pitch outside Innsbruck and in IBK we get around 300. This is more than anyone gets in Austria AFAIK excl the final.

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