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Pathways to 'transformed' Boks getting better

REACTION: The back-to-back World Cup champion Springboks may have fallen short of the government’s ‘transformation targets’, but the pathway to a ‘fully transformed’ team is improving.


Rassie Erasmus, in his roles as Bok coach and Director of Rugby, has been transparent about his tenaciousness to transform the national team.

However, despite the global praise for his persistence with the programme, it has been revealed that the Boks fell short of the agreed ‘government targets’.

Sunday newspaper Rapport printed details of a 206-page audit – compiled by the South African Rugby Union and shared with the domestic unions.

SARU, in a statement to @rugby365com, confirmed the report – all part of the Strategic Transformation Development Plan for 2030.

Rian Oberholzer, the SARU CEO, said he was “happy” with the national body’s performance.

“The requirement was for SARU to achieve 50 percent of the barometer targets,” he told @rugby365com in a written response, adding: “We achieved a commendable 86 percent.”


He admitted there are areas where they must improve.

This includes ‘team demographic’ performances.

According to the weekend newspaper report, only the Stormers and Sharks met their ‘transformation targets’.

The Sharks fielded 55 percent generic black players (black and coloured) black players in the 2022-23 Champions Cup – the most among the South African teams.


The Stormers were at 54 percent.

The Springboks transformation targets for last year were 54 percent for generic black (non-white) players – with a requirement of 27 percent ‘ethnically black’ players.

According to Rapport, the Bok team consisted of only 39 percent ‘generically black’ players in the Rugby Championship, with 13 percent ‘ethnic black’ players.

During the successful defence of their World Cup title in France, the Boks used 38 percent ‘generically black’ players and 16 percent ethnic black players.

The worst-performing teams were the Bulls and Lions.

The Bulls had 31 percent ‘generic black’ players in the Champions Cup and 28 percent in the URC – the lowest of the four big franchises.

The Lions had 32 percent in the Challenge Cup and 33 percent in the URC.

However, Oberholzer said those teams are making progress.

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“The Provincial Unions all showed massive commitment and passed the requirement of 60 percent of their self-determined targets,” he told @rugby365com.

“Team demographics are a challenge for some of them, but pathways are becoming better transformed – which is very positive for the future.”

He would like to see the biggest improvement in the ‘diversity and inclusion’ of players and coaches in the top-tier teams.

The report suggested ‘consequences’ for unions that do not meet the required targets and Oberholzer admitted all the unions approved an ‘incentive policy’.

“The policy governs compliance and non-compliance,” Oberholzer said, without elaborating what the consequences might be.

He said the ‘audit report’ was presented to the Unions at the recently held transformation committee – which consisted of all the Presidents of the unions and the CEOs.

“Unions also received weekly team demographic updates and are always aware of their progress,” he told @rugby365com.

“Also, note that all the unions receive a separate individualised report applicable to the Unions and their commercial partner.

“Furthermore, there are various interventions aimed at improving risk areas, such as capacity building programs, elite coaches programmes etc.”

Only two of the four international franchises responded to @rugby365com, when asked for their comments.

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Outgoing Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee said the report is ‘factual’ and it is difficult to argue against said facts.

“We live in South Africa and as administrators, it is our responsibility to transform the sport,” he said.

“We are 30 years into the ‘new’ South Africa and it is unacceptable that some teams are still resisting transformation.

“The Sharks have a strong culture of inclusivity and that is reflected in our transformation numbers – from school to EPCR [competitions].”

Bulls President Willem Strauss responded with a curt ‘no comment’, while there was no response from the Lions and Stormers.



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