SA Rugby president not looking for scapegoats

Date published: November 19 2016

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South African Rugby Union president Mark Alexander says they are focussed on finding solutions for the Springboks' worst season in the professional era.

The Boks suffered their first ever defeat to Italy on Saturday with a 20-18 loss, which prompted an unusual statement from Saru after the game.

"The whole of South African rugby is extremely disappointed with this year’s Springbok results and deeply worrying aspects of the performances. It has not been good enough and no one is pretending otherwise," Alexander said in a statement after the Boks' 20-18 historic loss to Italy on Saturday.

"We have a minimum target of winning three out of four test matches each season – which is better than the historical record – but we have not come close this season. It would be easy to lay the blame for that at one door or another and look for scapegoats but it would also be an oversimplification.

"All of us within South African rugby need to look at ourselves and ask what we could have done differently in aid of the Springbok cause. Those questions will be asked at the end of the season when we will undertake a full review of the year and what new interventions may be needed to turn things around," he added.

"We began that work recently with the coaching indaba. It set out to align national and Super Rugby coaches on the technical, tactical and conditioning requirements to succeed in 2017 and beyond.

"We also have to review such things as how we manage the fact that so many of our leading players are now based outside South Africa and more are being lured there.

"No group of individuals is more concerned or disappointed right now than the Springbok team and management. We know they are better than this. After that it is our job to take steps to do as much as we possibly can to make sure we are not in a similar position in 12 months’ time. Our focus is on solutions and finding answers to our current problems.

"We have a test against Wales on Saturday and then we will review the season and spend time determining a path for the future."

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