WPRFU must get rid of amateur attitude
Become professional. This, in a nutshell, is the message of Hennie le Roux to the amateur officials still holding sway at the Western Province Rugby Football Union.
The 1995 World Cup-winning Springbok confirmed to @rugby365com that he has been acting in an advisory capacity for Zelt Marais’ StratCom for the past fortnight.
“It has been quite eventful,” he said of the advisory committee based in the WPRFU President’s suite at Newlands – labelled a ‘war room’ by the WPRFU boss, Marais.
“There are a lot of issues to be dealt with,” Le Roux added – in reference top the many well-documented boardroom battles at the union.
As a founding member of the South African Rugby Players’ Association – after the game turned professional in 1996 – Le Roux is well-versed with the need to embrace professionalism
“Rugby, generally, is going through a phase of professionalism that needs, at times, guidance and direction,” he said.
Having been fortunate to have been involved in the painful process of the change from amateurism to professionalism in the 1990s, fully understands the requirements and needs of the players.
He said he can match that with what the union’s requirements and needs are in this process.
“It has given me some indication and direction in how to be balanced – take a view from both parties’ perspective,” Le Roux told @rugby365com.
“There is some real potential and opportunity in this environment,” he said of the WPRFU struggles.
“WPRFU is the last union to address the issue of truly becoming professional.
“If you look at the other provinces in South Africa, you see how the shareholder controls and manages those aspects.”
He said the StratCom is “far down the line” in making the switch from amateurism to professionalism.
“I am looking forward to a really exciting, positive future for WPRFU.”
He said one of the reasons for his involvement is to help WPRFU avoid going through the pain of a slow, 25-year-long process of change over – providing them with the short-cuts to bridge the gap.
“In saying that, my role is merely to guide, assess and give feedback.
“There is no particular role I am fulfilling other than providing guidance and a bit of direction.”
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After playing 20-odd games for Eastern Province in 1990 and 1991, he featured in more than 150 games for Transvaal between 1992 and 2000.
A year after arriving at Ellis Park, Le Roux played the first of his 27 Tests against France at Kingspark, Durban, in June 1993.
The virtuoso playmaker played his last international against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park in December 1996.
However, he said for him it is about the game and serving the game.
“South Africa requires a minimum of four or five big, strong provinces to be able to succeed,” Le Roux said, adding: “If I can fulfil a role in trying to professionalism the game in any area I want to fulfil that role in the best possible way.”
He said it is also critical to look after the players as assets of the union and without looking after them the union faces a hard and difficult road.
“WP has a proud history, they have a lot of feeder clubs, a lot of people that are passionate about the game.
“This province has played an integral part in the success of Springbok rugby.”
Le Roux said it is vital that the likes of WP, Bulls, Lions and Sharks remain strong and focussed to ensure they continue to provide the quality players the Springboks need to perform well.
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