SA Rugby boss responds after report criticises Springboks over ‘transformation’ failure

David Skippers
Mark Alexander and Springboks.jpg

Springboks players celebrate a try and SA Rugby president Mark Alexander.

The latest internal audit of SA Rugby’s Strategic Transformation Development Plan 2030 (STDP 2030) indicates that the sport is tracking firmly in the right direction, according to SA Rugby president Mark Alexander.

This, after Sunday newspaper Rapport revealed recently that the audit confirmed that the Springboks did not achieve their transformation targets in any of the three series they played in 2023.

Despite that, Alexander expressed his happiness with the progress made by his organisation on the transformation front.

‘Massive commitment’ from provincial unions

“Overall, I am very happy with our performance,” said Alexander. “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.”

The STDP2030 includes all areas of endeavour in rugby – including operations such as procurement, governance, staffing, committees as well as team demographics.

“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,” Alexander added.

“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.

“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.

SA Rugby report slams Springboks for failing to reach ‘transformation’ targets

“Yes, we 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.

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‘Dedicated to fostering an inclusive culture’

“Our commitment extends beyond diverse representation; we 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.”

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