Former Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers still has many mates within the national team setup, but that hasn’t stopped him from voicing his concerns about the direction in which South African rugby is headed.
He has come out and said that the Bok jersey has lost some of its meaning after a disastrous 2016, which he expanded on during his appearance as a guest speaker at the launch of a schools rugby event in Pretoria.
“The structures from schools level to the Boks are not structures geared for long-term success. There’s constant fighting going on, from top level to the bottom and vice-versa. Then you’ve also got a CEO who often appears in court,” De Villiers was quoted as saying…
De Villiers was referring to SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux [below], who is embroiled in a legal battle after being sued for alleged financial mismanagement during his time as chairperson of the Stellenbosch Rugby Club.
The above-mentioned scenarios lead to unhappiness among players, De Villiers stressed.
“What then happens is that corporate South Africa loses interest to get involved. Your brand gets watered down. Something that was as strong as the Bok jersey, does not really have much meaning to us anymore.”
South Africa’s declining Rand has also set new challenges to rugby in the country, as more players chase the lure of the stronger currencies abroad, De Villiers added.
He’s certainly right about a watered down brand, although the reasons for the exodus of rugby players overseas may be a more complicated issue than simply money.
You can read more about that HERE, with a Stellies Master’s thesis offering a great analysis into the multi-faceted reasons for our rugby drain.
In case you missed the news yesterday, the Boks also have a new official domestic carrier to replace SAA, whose sponsorship ended in December:
“We are absolutely delighted to partner with FlySafair and to welcome the airline to the rugby family,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“Safair has been in aviation for more than 50 years, and we see FlySafair as a bright, new and modern player in the South African airline space.
“Its mission is to unite people, with who and what they love, while providing a great experience. Similarly, the Springboks aspire to unite South Africa through great rugby. We’re looking forward to sharing the journey with them – both literally and metaphorically.”
May I suggest they give Allister Coetzee a one-way ticket rather soon.
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