World Cup 2023: Saru still con­fi­dent

CityPress - - Sport - HEN­DRIK CRONJÉ sports@city­press.co.za

The SA Rugby Union (Saru) is sat­is­fied that Sports Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula will give them the nec­es­sary ap­proval be­fore the end of Novem­ber to bid for the World Cup in 2023.

A Saru del­e­ga­tion plans to meet the min­is­ter of sport about this soon, and there is no in­di­ca­tion that it will be ex­pected to in­crease its trans­for­ma­tion tar­gets if it wishes to host the show­piece tour­na­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to Saru’s Strate­gic Trans­for­ma­tion Plan, which is pub­lished on its web­site, its goal is that all its rep­re­sen­ta­tive teams, in­clud­ing the man­age­ment team, must be 50% trans­formed by the 2019 World Cup.

Saru re­alises the im­por­tance of trans­for­ma­tion and, with the ap­point­ment of Al­lis­ter Coetzee as Spring­bok head coach and Mzwandile Stick as back­line coach, it an­nounced that it had no in­ten­tion of sidestep­ping this sen­si­tive is­sue.

Rassie Eras­mus, Jo­han Ack­er­mann and John Plumtree were in the run­ning along with Coetzee, while Stick was ap­pointed ahead of back­line coaches such as Swys de Bruin and Franco Smith.

Coetzee is a pure merit and pop­u­lar ap­point­ment and has proved him­self at all lev­els. Stick has, how­ever, been thrown in at the deep end to some ex­tent.

Jurie Roux, the CEO of Saru, even sup­ported Mbalula’s ur­gency this week af­ter the sports min­is­ter caused widespread rip­ples with his an­nounce­ment that he was sus­pend­ing the right of four na­tional sports fed­er­a­tions – Saru, Cricket SA, Net­ball SA and Ath­let­ics SA (ASA) – to host ma­jor in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ments.

He pun­ished them be­cause they were not reach­ing their trans­for­ma­tion tar­gets and he would only re­view his de­ci­sion with the next re­port of the Em­i­nent Per­sons Group (EPG). Ac­cord­ing to a Saru press re­lease, this could be in Novem­ber.

“Our [trans­for­ma­tion] barom­e­ter for 2015 shows that we [Saru] achieved our tar­gets in 11 of the 13 cat­e­gories, as agreed with the gov­ern­ment,” said Roux.

How­ever, Mbalula will ex­pect the Boks to achieve their tar­get of 30% generic black rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

“We have made fur­ther progress on and off the field in 2016. Our com­mit­ment to trans­for­ma­tion will be even more ev­i­dent over the next few months. We are con­fi­dent the sus­pen­sion will be lifted in the next EPG re­port,” said Roux.

Mean­while, the depart­ment on Thurs­day reached a con­sen­sus with the ASA and gave its con­sent to its host­ing of the Con­fed­er­a­tion of African Ath­let­ics Se­nior Track & Field Cham­pi­onships sched­uled for Dur­ban from June 22 to 26.

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