The corona virus has brought the whole world to a standstill and the sports world is also hugely affected by this quick spreading virus. Tournaments are put on hold, tours and events all over the world have been cancelled. The buzz word now is “isolation”. In South Africa we are well aware and accustomed to that word in a different context…as we were isolated from the world of sport as a result of apartheid in 1964 until it was abolished and we were back on the rugby playing fields in 1992


Besides huge financial losses at Unions, clubs, teams and sport organisations, it has an impact on the whole rugby momentum in the world and all of a sudden reality has hit the surface. Where rugby now and where is is it going?
 Typical questions that pop up:

  1. Is rugby union dying a slow death as a result of finances & sponsors
  2. Are there to much rugby played?
  3. Are the player pools to big and are players earning to much money
  4. Why are most of the small unions bankrupt and some so called big unions in financial trouble
  5. Why are the stadiums so empty?

The good news is….Rugby will never die!

The fact is, now is the best time to reflect and regroup, There is no doubt in my mind that the IRB will have to look at the current business model and adapt it to the modern demands and challenges rugby faces all over the world. I am pretty sure SA Rugby is already busy with hat process The system must be streamlined and simplified. By implication rules and regulations must be implemented re salary caps and numbers of professional players that can be contracted etc.

I think the time is right now for changes, not necessary just for the sake of changing but to make an improvement, add value and synchronize with evolution of the modern game and administrative demands

Maybe its time to privatize the rugby unions and run it like a business by top capable competent business people at the helm appointing their own personnel.


Let’s focus on the positive and properly the field I am qualified to give my opinion in, as I am a bad politician We are currently the World Champions, and nobody can take that away from us. We have to build on that success of Rassie and the boys and ensure that we will be a force again in the next rugby WC. That’s why we can not lose momentum now and just need a mind shift and adapt
Rugby has evolved, and there is definitely a new generation of coaches and players coming through the ranks.

The old saying of the basics of the game will never change, the dynamic’s around the teams and strategies and tactics however has and if you as a coach have not stayed in touch with times and in tune with the modernising…you might have a challenge Gone are the days of a coaches barking instructions at training or at game day like a Sargent in the army or old school teacher spoon-feeding the “it’s my way or the highway approach. It is all about people skills, emotional intelligence and Rugby IQ

The head coach becomes like a manager, managing the coaches’ players and process. This is all build on creating a foundation/relationship of trust between coaches and players, surrounding yourself by the best personnel for the job. Empower the coaches and players then get out of their way so they can do the job. Manager should facilitate the process and be on top of his game with great people skills and a strategic mind-set. He should also be the role model.

If we look at the current Super Rugby Coaches, it seams that Sean Everitt (Sharks) and John Dobson (Stormers) has it spot on. The players are enjoying the rugby environment created by the coaches and their results show that. At the Lions Ivan van Rooyen has a young management team and they are battling to find momentum and the results. This is a game of patients although that is the last thing shareholders and sponsors want to hear.

As I said to Kevin de Klerk after a casual discussion there, maybe just a lack of experience. Pote Human (Blue Bulls) has a more conservative approach that has always been part of their success, they have been battling but just as they seemed to get it right the tournament was put on hold One last comment, I am concerned about the professionalism at school level where competing and enjoyment should go hand in hand, some schools are actually training longer hours and more than pro teams do. We should teach the youngsters to enjoy the game, play it within the rules, work ethics and great skills. Coaches should empower them with all the tools & skills (Physical and mentally) should they have potential to make it into pro rugby one day.

Then only the tough demands should start. We have to plan their careers to ensure longevity on the field Well everything is not ever lost, let’s get over the serious phase of Corona so the rugby can start again. It is empty and frustrating over a weekend not being able to watch the game our great talent in action, hopefully soon!