Super Rugby

Wakefield hits back at Krige in open letter

Thelo Wakefield (Gallo Images)
Thelo Wakefield (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - WP Rugby president Thelo Wakefield has hit back after one of its former captains criticised the top brass of the union.

Corne Krige, who played 68 matches for WP, 56 for the Stormers and 39 Tests for the Springboks, was quoted in Rapport over the weekend saying there were too many administrators at WP who did not belong in their positions.

Krige hit out at the “amateur” management style of some employees who were “not competent to run a multi-million rand organisation”.

According to Netwerk24, Krige sent Wakefield a personal message that his comments were not specifically directed towards him, but the WP president nevertheless took offence.

Wakefield has hit back in an open letter, which Sport24 obtained courtesy of Netwerk24:

Dear Corne

As a past player for WP I was most disappointed in the article published in Rapport on Sunday.

The article was not only damaging to WP Rugby but also to me personally.

Given that you were a great player and captain, despite being extremely hurt by the article, I would like to retain my dignity and not take you on publically in the printed press. I would however like to point out some facts and address some of the issues you raised;

- We have experienced a number of challenges recently at WP Rugby and continue to work tirelessly to develop a plan that we believe will make WP great again.

- That plan involves a number of unencumbered (debt free) high value property assets that WPRFU owns. Part of WP Rugby’s turnaround strategy is the development of those property assets to ensure significant residual income streams for the Union in perpetuity.

- The leadership of WP Rugby includes some incredibly astute business minds including; Dr Johan Van Der Merwe of Mayco; Suzanne Stevens of Brightrock and Hennie Heymans of DHL, all whom contribute significant business expertise to the running of WP Rugby at the highest level. In addition, the current CEO Paul Zacks, has an MBA, an honours and a masters degree, as well as 25 years of commercial experience.

- We believe that we have contracted an exceptional group of athletes for next season and will ensure all issues and potential stumbling blocks like the current team management issue are dealt with and clarity provided where required, to ensure we have the best possible chance in the competition. We are also in advanced discussion with one or two high profile players that we are confident will join us.

- WP Rugby can confirm that former WP Rugby (Pty) Ltd shareholder Remgro has not recalled their loans and that WP Rugby is in regular contact with Remgro with regard to its outstanding indebtedness to Remgro.

- In addition, WP Rugby can confirm that it is in discussions with a potential equity investor with regards to the sale of a stake of less than 50% in the commercial arm of WP Rugby.

- WP Rugby also wishes to clarify that the Aerios claim for damages it allegedly suffered, is against the Liquidated Company, not the current Company and is being dealt with by the Liquidators.

As you are aware from your time as a player it remains easy to comment from the touchline. A leader however would arm himself with the facts, not attack individuals and would roll up his sleeves to the support the Union.

Thelo Wakefield