Springboks

Springboks players. image via Instagram @bokrugby

SA Rugby happy with Boks’ transformation progress despite failure to meet targets

Mark Alexander says SA Rugby’s transformation plan is heading in the right direction and is aligned with its goals set out for the next six years, despite several national teams’ inability to meet their diversity targets.

Springboks

Springboks players. image via Instagram @bokrugby

President Mark Alexander says the latest internal audit of SA Rugby’s transformation goals is evident enough that the sport on track with its transformation targets.

TEAMS FAIL TO MEET TRANSFORMATION TARGETS

News broke on Sunday that both the Springboks and South Africa’s URC sides had failed to meet their 2023 targets in terms of black representation at a provincial and national level, but Alexander is adamant that while there are still some challenges in certain areas, the overall situation is a healthy one.

The audit was part of Saru’s Strategic Transformation Development Plan, with the government setting a target for national sports bodies to field teams that consist of 60% black and coloured players by 2030.

“Overall, I am very happy with our performance,” he said. “The Provincial Unions all showed massive commitment and passed their self-determined targets. Team demographics are a challenge in some areas, but pathways are becoming better transformed, which is very positive for the future.”

SA RUGBY SAYS TRANSFORMATION EXCEEDS FIELD OF PLAY

Alexander noted that transformation in rugby was not just about team demographics but also included operations such as procurement, governance, staffing and committees.

“Transformation is a process, and when you turn on the television and watch rugby at all levels, it is very easy to see the progress we are making on the field,” said Alexander.

“What you don’t see are the other areas of diversity and inclusion that are advancing at a rapid pace and are covered by the STDP 2030, which focuses on access to the game, skills and capacity development, demographic representation, performance, community development and social responsibility, and corporate governance,” the SA Rugby big boss explained.

“That improvement is nowhere more obvious than at the level of our national teams, where we have made ground-breaking strides under the leadership of Rassie Erasmus.

“Yes, SA Rugby have targets for the Springboks in demographics, but we also have performance targets which we will not compromise, and we are definitely tracking in the right direction on both fronts.

“Misleading headlines are making a mountain out of a mole heap regarding the transformation outburst in the media, but our organization has a much broader lens through which to view the state of play.

“Inclusion is as equally crucial as is diversity, as it ensures that everyone is treated equally and has a voice in the team environment.

“Our commitment extends beyond diverse representation; SA Rugby are dedicated to fostering an inclusive culture where every player, regardless of their background, feels valued and heard.

“The Springboks are the best players available in any calendar year to represent our country – they reflect the funnel of available talent, and real progress is being made in creating opportunities and new heroes for every community.

“The Springbok team have contributed positively to social cohesion in our country. The recent honorary doctorate received by Rassie Erasmus was well-deserved because he understands what it means to be a South African. He picks players based on what they can bring to the team and their commitment to one another.

“The STDP is a process with a finishing line in 2030. The annual reports are our way of measuring progress, celebrating success, and noting areas for eventual improvement.”

Springboks and SA Rugby at 2024 SA Sports awards
SA Rugby’s Aimee Barrett-Theron, Marco van Staden, Malcolm Marx, Manie Libbok, Mark Alexander and Rian Oberholzer at the awards ceremony. Image: Via SA Rugby.