World Cup 2023: Saru still confident

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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. Rapport

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