SA Rugby had made a dramatic gear change in its transformation progress in 2019, the organisation announced on Tuesday, following the completion of its annual audit.
SA Rugby’s transformation barometre had leapt from 59% success in 2018 to 81% a year later in the first year of the organisation’s refocused Strategic Transformation Development Plan 2030 (STDP 2030).
SA Rugby achieved success in 38 of its 47 areas of measurement in the dimensions of access; demographics and empowerment:
The nine areas in which SA Rugby was short of its targets were in black sports psychologists; failing to field either an under-18 women’s national team or U16/U17 male national teams and at the senior male national level where the target for black African representation was achieved but generic black representation was at 38% to a target of 45%.
“We are very satisfied with the progress we have made,” said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO.
“The advances made in the first year of STDP 2030 is a testimony to the commitment of the organisation to our goals and the benefits that will accrue to the sport as well as the nation when we succeed.
“It’s great credit to our rugby department and strategic performance management department that we’ve been able to go into high gear in our transformation process.”
Roux also praised all 14 provincial unions who had each achieved a minimum of 60% of their agreed targets in the provincial barometre, which was measured against similar dimensions at a provincial level.
“The collective responsibility taken by provincial leadership has been commendable,” said Roux. “Their improvement impacted on the national improvement.”
The results show a marked improvement on the findings of the Eminent Persons’ Group, which reported its 2018 findings over the weekend.
SA Rugby was praised in the report for “the high quality of data input” with an overall barometre achievement of 59%, which was consistent with the previous two years.
The EPG – established by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture – sets the pass mark at 50 percent, the point at which federations can face sanctions from the minister.
The EPG also referenced the separate National Transformation Charter – which set goals for sport to achieve by 2030. Against those future measures SA Rugby achieved 43% achievement in 2018. However, the impact of the 2019 initiatives had seen that rise to 61% in SA Rugby’s audit.
“It’s clear that the first year of STDP2030 was a positive step in the right direction on our collective transformation journey towards an accessible, equitable, sustainable, demographically representative and competitive rugby system,” said Roux.
“We have many exciting challenges such as growing the game of women’s rugby and to continue to increase the number of black Africans at all levels of the game.
“But we moved the needle in 2019 in areas such as B-BBEE compliance among the membership with 80% now reaching Level 4 or better, and we expect to do the same in other focus areas between now and 2030.”
Details of SA Rugby’s transformation performance can be found in the annual report here https://www.springboks.rugby/en/pages/governance
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
SA Rugby was collaborating with Government on return-to-train protocols with a view to resuming competitive action in August – if not earlier – Jurie Roux, CEO of the organisation, said on Monday.
Roux said that SA Rugby’s 500-page return-to-play manual had been in the hands of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture for some weeks.
“We believe we have a comprehensive and scientifically rigorous set of protocols to minimise the risk of transmission and allow a return to competitive rugby within the next two months,” said Roux.
“We have planned meticulously for the moment and know we have the infrastructure and capacity within our professional playing environment to safely deliver those protocols.
“Rugby – and sport in general – is probably better placed than 90 percent of other businesses to return to normalised activities as fitness testing and wellness measurement in general are part our DNA.”
Roux said the probable loss of four months of the playing calendar would mean a re-working of the domestic calendar but he believed a re-designed Vodacom Super Rugby competition and the kick off of the Currie Cup were both possible.
“Obviously, the international travel ban means Vodacom Super will undergo a re-design – as it has in New Zealand and Australia – but we are looking forward to its resumption,” said Roux.
Meanwhile SA Rugby had planned for a range of possibilities for the return to Test rugby.
“There are a number of options,” said Roux.
“The postponed July tests could still take place here in October; our northern hemisphere tour in November has not been cancelled and the possibility of playing the Castle Lager Rugby Championship in a single venue in ‘a bubble’ has also been workshopped.
“But as those all remain unconfirmed and reliant on factors outside of our control. But we also have a few other ideas up our sleeve, which we’re quite excited about, and will announce if and when they become necessary.”
Roux said that South Africa – as all nations – was heavily involved with World Rugby on discussions around a re-working of the global calendar.
“The pandemic has had the side effect of wiping the slate clean when it comes to Test scheduling,” said Roux.
“It has created the necessity of finding solutions for exceptional circumstances in 2020 and re-opened questions about what works best from an audience and player welfare perspective.
“There are some very interesting ideas being discussed and SA Rugby would be keen to see this pandemic have some positive spin-offs in terms of realignment.
“We are working closely with our SANZAAR partners on what that might look like, but our current position is that we are well placed to head in any direction and open to all ideas. Like our partners, we have ruled nothing out.”
Roux said that speculation that more South African teams might join the Guinness PRO14 was understandable in the circumstances, but it was too early to come to any conclusions.
Meanwhile planning for the British & Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa in 2021 remained in high gear.
He confirmed that a move to host the tour later in the year was being considered to dovetail with all other Test scheduling conversations that were taking place at a World Rugby level.
“The development of the pandemic and its varying impact around the world has made for a fluid situation and we have had to be responsive in our planning,” said Roux.
“That means we have looked at a number of contingencies around scheduling.
“We have those scenarios in place, but the main question now is when it will be safe for international travel and for mass gatherings. It would be a disappointment if a Lions series had to be played behind closed doors, but that is not a scenario for which we are currently planning.”
Rugby went into lockdown almost 12 weeks ago on 18 March.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux and Springbok Women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer agreed on Tuesday that the cancellation of the 2020 edition of the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup was the best decision for all involved due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Springbok Women were set to defend their Rugby Africa Women’s Cup title in a three match-series against Uganda, Madagascar and Kenya between May and July, which would have featured a historic first Test match in Madagascar, but the tournament was called off on Tuesday following a decision by Rugby Africa to cancel their 2020 season in the interests of player safety.
The key considerations in this significant decision included the current bans on travel, public gatherings and sporting events across Africa, the varying lifting of lockdown restrictions across the continent, potential quarantine requirements and the anticipated increase in travel costs when the travel bans are lifted.
Another contributing factor highlighted by the Rugby Africa Medical Committee was the fact that the variable evolution of COVID-19 in different parts of Africa made it difficult to predict when the pandemic would peak in Africa and when the end would be in sight.
“I feel for Stanley Raubenheimer and his team, especially with an eye on their preparations for the 2021 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand,” said Roux, who is also the Secretary General of Rugby Africa.
“But the safety of the players and team management members has to be the top priority in any decision made, and the cancellation of the tournament is in line with that.
“The players have continued to put in the hard yards in terms of their training during lockdown, and I commend them for that. I have no doubt that this news – albeit disappointing – will not stop them from doing their best and ensuring that they return to the field even more determined when the rugby season resumes.”
Raubenheimer was equally realistic in his reaction to the cancellation of the tournament: “I think it was the best decision in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. I would rather extend our preparation for the 2021 Rugby World Cup into next year and have peace of mind knowing that the players’ safety is the main priority.
“As a coaching team we were prepared for any eventuality, but it is good to have clarity on the season so we can map the way forward.”
Raubenheimer said the players would continue with their personal training programmes for now, while he remained hopeful that the European Tour scheduled to take place in November would go ahead.
“There is still a while to go before the November tour, so we will continue planning for that, although similarly to the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup we need to be prepared for any scenario that may play out,” said the coach.
“Obviously we would have liked to play as many matches as possible in the lead-up to the World Cup, but we have to be patient and let the COVID-19 virus take its course.
“Fortunately we managed to get the centralised training camps running across the country earlier in the year to allow the players to train together within in their respective regions, so when they can train in groups again I would like to see that function optimally. And if possible it would be nice to have a short alignment camp of three to four days with the entire squad later in the season.”
Issued by SA Rugby Communications