New rugby department to identify and monitor young talent

2014-12-17 00:00

FOLLOWING proposed transformation plans for all areas of South African rugby earlier this year, the South African Rugby Union (Saru) have made headway creating a new “rugby department” that will be operational at the beginning of the year.

The new department is set to help identify, develop and monitor players from youth structures into national teams in the coming years.

There will also be a second strategic performance management department that will monitor the progress of transformation in the sport.

The department was born from Saru’s old development and high performance units.

According to Saru CEO Jurie Roux, the new plan is a natural evolution of older processes that fell short in keeping track of developing players.

“The old departments worked hand in hand. The development department identified playing and coaching talent and put their feet on the right path before they would be picked up by the HP department when they reached senior national teams,” he said.

“But there was a dislocation and the chance that players could fall by the wayside and that we would lose track of them. The new structure will assist us in following players ‘from the cradle to the grave’.”

The rugby department will be responsible for on-field coaching and preparation, off-field logistics and planning, technical analysis, database management and medical care and safety.

Saru have already filled all but one of the positions in the new departments.

Former Springbok flank Rassie Erasmus has been named as general manager and brings plenty of experience having coached the Cheetahs, Western Province as well as being general manager of Saru’s old high performance department.

Former Springbok and Western Province defence coach Jacques Nienaber has signed a one-year contract as high performance manager in the on-field section.

“From the moment a player appears on our radar at one of our Youth Week tournaments we will be able to track his performance and development all the way through to his retirement,” Roux said.

“We’ll be able to log every minute he has played for all teams, we’ll have analysed every action in every match for our national teams, we’ll have a full picture of his entire medical history and we’ll have been able to identify his strengths and weaknesses and discussed those with every coach he will have in his ­career.”

In the past, monitoring development has been difficult, hence the restructure and a formation of the strategic performance management.

Mervin Green continues in his role as general manager, having been the former general manager of development department.

“Transformation is something we have worked very hard on in recent years and we’ve spent many thousands of hours on roadshows, workshops and audits to develop our strategic approach,” said Roux.

The rugby department will be fully operational at the beginning of 2015.

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