South African Rugby Union

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) is the governing body for rugby union in South Africa and is affiliated to World Rugby. It was established in 1992 as the South African Rugby Football Union, from the merger of the South African Rugby Board and the non-racial South African Rugby Union (SACOS), and took up its current name in 2005.

South African Rugby Union
SportRugby union
Founded1992; 31 years ago (1992) (1992; 31 years ago (1992))
World Rugby affiliation1992
Rugby Africa affiliation1992
HeadquartersCape Town
PresidentMark Alexander
Rian Oberholzer (Interim)
Men's coachJacques Nienaber
Women's coachStanley Raubenheimer[1]
Sevens coachNeil Powell

SARU organises several national teams, most notably the senior national side, the Springboks.[citation needed]

History edit

The South African Rugby Board was the rugby union governing body of white South Africans between 1889 and 1992. The governing of white and coloured rugby union was handled separately during South Africa under Apartheid. In 1992 the non-racial South African Rugby Union and the South African Rugby Board were merged to form the South African Rugby Football Union. The unified body changed its name in 2005 to the current South African Rugby Union.[citation needed]

Kamp Staaldraad edit

The debacle of the 2003 World Cup saw the Springboks exit in the quarterfinals. Further, SARU experienced the scandal of Kamp Staaldraad, the training camp run by then-Boks coach Rudolf Straeuli. Reportedly, "naked players were crammed into foxholes and doused repeatedly with ice-cold water while the English national anthem and New Zealand's haka were played over and over again ... [and] were also forced into a freezing lake in the early hours of the morning to pump up rugby balls under water and ... when some players tried to get out they were ordered back into the water at gunpoint."[2] Straeuli resigned, as did Rian Oberholzer, the managing director of South Africa Rugby (Pty) Ltd, the commercial arm of SARFU. Soon afterwards, SARFU president Silas Nkununu, facing a strong reelection challenge, withdrew from consideration for election.[3]

van Rooyen edit

Brian van Rooyen was elected president of SARU in 2004. He soon became a highly polarising figure in South African sport, with detractors accusing him of financial shenanigans, favouritism, and general mismanagement.[citation needed] His management style was also widely perceived as autocratic. One of the major gripes against the Van Rooyen administration was the allocation of venues for the Springboks home test matches. The KwaZulu-Natal Union and the Free State Union did not receive a Tri Nations Test in 2005 or 2006. Both unions, vocal opponents of Van Rooyen, accused him of punishing them for their opposition.[citation needed]


However, the biggest bone of contention surrounded the expansion of the Super Rugby competition. SANZAR, a consortium of the South African, Australian, and New Zealand governing bodies, expanded their Super 12 competition to 14 teams, a change that took effect in 2006. South Africa was entitled to add one franchise to the four from the Super 12 era. In a controversial move, the Southern Spears franchise was assured a place in the 2007 and 2008 competitions, with an increasingly unpopular promotion/relegation system established to keep the total of South African Super 14 teams at its allotted five. Van Rooyen was widely viewed as being responsible for this arrangement, which was generally opposed by the existing Super 12/14 sides. The South African government attempted to step in to address perceived problems within Van Rooyen's administration, but he survived two years of attempts to oust him. Finally, at the February 2006 SARU General Meeting, Van Rooyen was voted out.[4]

Oregan Hoskins, who promised a more decentralised management style, was voted in. After the election, it was alleged by Free State Rugby Union president Harold Verster that Van Rooyen had offered a bribe of ZAR 3 million (US$485,000) plus a Springboks test against France to the Free State union in exchange for the union changing its vote in the presidential election in his favour.[5] Hoskins announced that a planned investigation into Van Rooyen's administration would go forward.[5] In June 2006 Van Rooyen was banned from serving in any capacity on the general council or committees of the South African Rugby Union.[6]

As for the Spears issue, the SARU Presidents' Council issued a recommendation on 24 March 2006 that SA Rugby revisit the decision to admit the Spears. On 19 April 2006, the decision to admit the Spears was officially overturned by SARU.[7][8]

Israel edit

South African Rugby Union disinvited the Israeli team the Tel Aviv Heat from an international competition in South Africa in February 2023.[9] South Africa Rugby’s CEO said that after listening to "the opinions of important stakeholder groups," it had decided to disinvite Tel Aviv "to avoid the likelihood of the competition becoming a source of division, notwithstanding the fact that Israel is a full member of World Rugby."[9] The Tel Aviv Heat protested the decision, South African Friends of Israel said the South Africa Rugby Union "bent the knee to appease political extremists in South Africa who threatened to harm and incite violence should an Israeli team participate in the sport," and the South African Zionist Federation called the decision "an attack on our sportsmen and women in South Africa."[9] The San Clemente Rhinos, which replaced Tel Aviv, issued a statement condemning discrimination saying the team "stands together with Tel Aviv Heat players and coaches."[9]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "New appointments for Springboks women, SA schools". Sport24. 25 May 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  2. ^ Ray, Craig (22 November 2003). "Springbok regime exposed" – via The Guardian.
  3. ^ "'Simply a good man': Former SA Rugby president Silas Nkanunu dies aged 87". SowetanLIVE.
  4. ^ "Oregan Hoskins steps down as SA Rugby president". Vaalweekblad. 17 August 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  5. ^ a b "Rugby rocked by bribe scandal". News24.
  6. ^ "Sports History of South Africa".
  7. ^ "It is official: Spears shafted". Retrieved 19 January 2006.
  8. ^ "Spears' CEO to be held accountable". Retrieved 10 April 2006.
  9. ^ a b c d Gurvis, Jacob (27 April 2023). "Rugby's governing body ruled that South Africa's exclusion of Israel was not discrimination. The Israeli team is skeptical".

External links edit