Doing less, might be more

Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Original Content on 23 Sep 2009 at 10:56

Earlier this week the Ruan Pienaar issue raised an important issue in South African rugby; “Just how do we get people on the same page?”

It is not new.

National coach has a plan and his ideas on how to be successful, provincial or union coaches too, have their plans and ideas on how to be successful. Unfortunately more often than not, they have a very different idea or plan and this leads to a total communication breakdown between the national coach and provincial coaches and results in players having to adopt as they move between national and union responsibilities.

Rugby is a professional sport, success of coaches are measured by what they achieve on the field, and that means winning trophies, and as much as union coaches would like to assist the national coach in accommodating players in certain positions, or resting key Bok players, it is not always possible.

I have often though why success at a lower level cannot drive success at higher levels, and also why success at higher levels compliment deficiencies at lower levels? Yes there will always be a few snags and differences of opinion on players and playing styles, but to be successful you need to be fed through successful, and winning structures.

A lot of it comes down to on how our structures work in South African rugby.

There are two main areas are of concern to me, firstly the lack of communication and continuity at national level and Super rugby level, and secondly, our centralization of our rugby resources.

A lot has been said about the role of a National Director of Rugby (NDOR). To me, this is not even negotiable, it is an absolute necessity.

Too often do we see successful age group level coaches, teams and players fall totally by the wayside when they make the step up to senior level simply because there are no control mechanisms in place to ensure continued development and effective communication in the best interest of coaches and players. This, together with the management of our top 150 professional rugby players and coaches at Super rugby level is an absolute necessity.

Also, for a country with hundreds and thousands of registered rugby players, I find it particularly disturbing that we cannot unearth talent to for instance, fill the Springbok number 10 void we have been sitting with for almost a decade now, but also more importantly, effectively ensure transformation occurs at all levels without having to cosmetically force, or socially engineer numbers or players at all levels.

So two major problems exist. We do not have a person to manage the professional structures in SA Rugby effectively (NDOR that oversees and manages the structures and teams, coaches and players at SA U/19, SA U/21, Emerging Boks or SA A Team, Super Rugby and senior Springbok Rugby), and secondly, de-centralize our rugby structures outside of the 5 major unions to include all regions in South Africa for rugby development, and talent identification.

For the most part I do not see SA Rugby doing anything wrong, other than the fact that they at some stage have to admit and realise, they cannot successfully oversee all of this and then still hope to achieve results in all those areas as they simply do not have the manpower or finances to do this.

SA Rugby needs to adopt a structure of micro-management where they should oversee the professional management of all these levels of rugby mentioned.

To do this SA Rugby needs to appoint a NDOR or group/panel to manage the national, and international arms of rugby in South Africa, or for a better word, nationally contracted players and coaches. This would include all the Springbok age-group level teams, coaches and players, as well as the management of the Super rugby franchises and coaches.

Effectively, this will or should mean that all our national players at all levels, as well as our Super rugby elite players (which will be part of this pool of national players), will be centrally contracted to SA Rugby through its direct channels and commercial arm, as well as a two-tier contract system for players not on a national contract but part of the Super rugby elite player pool.

Crucial in the sustainability of this plan however will be the independence of the Super rugby franchise from any major union in South African rugby.

Up and till now I imagine most would have liked the above proposed solution, but what follows will arguably leave me losing over 60% of people and their support!

For rugby in this country to stay competitive in the professional environment we will need the cash reserves or finances to ensure not only continued identification and development of local talent, but also retention of our physical and mental (knowledge base) resources. This means we will need a shit-load of cash.

South Africa has 6 major regions where rugby is concerned.

The Western Cape (currently Stormers), the Southern and Eastern Cape (currently Kings), the Central and Northern Districts (Cheetahs), the East Coast (Sharks), the Gauteng midlands and South Eastern Gauteng (currently Lions), and the Northern Gauteng and North West Province (currently Bulls).

These 6 regions represents all 14 union members currently under the SA Rugby flag. However, where we totally missed the boat in my view was to marry each of these regions, or franchises, to a central province in each of those regions.

The net effect was that the 5 major provinces enriched themselves through the lucrative deals and benefits Super rugby brings, BUT at the expense of the smaller unions who has no hope in hell to ensure growth and development and self-sustainability in competing with the traditional Big 5.

This effectively ensured that we created a bottle-neck effect in South African rugby, where close to ½ million rugby players can only develop successfully into top class professional players, through 5 unions only. You do not need to be Einstein to spot the problem here.

The only way to effectively de-centralize this current structure, is to have the 6 franchises operate completely independently from any one union, but actually act as the mini-SA Rugby of each of the regions (and unions) it represents.

These franchises should be privately owned and managed under the guidance and partnership (stakeholder) of SA Rugby and obviously still conform to the constitution and unionized rules of the National Governing Body (SA Rugby/SARU).

The unions of each region will be commercially managed by each franchise of the region, where the responsibilities of development, structures, transformation, etc. all now becomes part of the franchise’s direct responsibility and that of their board of directors.

The main aim of each independent, and privately owned franchise will always be;

a) To ensure they make a profit, and
b) To ensure a winning brand and culture is created in their franchise, feeder unions and lower structures of clubs and schools

I will not go into this in detail in the article but I believe you will see the idea behind this is that finances generated by the franchises will be re-invested in their own regions and structures to ensure continued development of talent and producing top class players and coaches.

The unions are obviously still affiliated to SA Rugby and directly responsible for the clubs and schools in their specific regions and areas, but similarly to how SA Rugby will micro manage the regions, so too will the franchises ensure under their management, funding and guidance that each union manages what they are directly responsible for.

You will also see that this moves to a scenario where there is a clear split between the amateur arms of rugby, and the professional arms of rugby, both of which is absolutely essential, but needs to be clearly defined as to their roles, power and responsibility.

All this could, and should effectively ensure, that the different rugby entities, personalities and groups pull in the same direction, where continuity, communication, and sustained success on the pitch will be the ultimate goal.


  • Why did I know who the author was when I scrolled down??? 🙄

    Kom nou Morras – give it to me in a nutshell! 😉

  • Comment 1, posted at 23.09.09 11:07:49 by SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) (Comment 1) :

    Appoint a National Director of Rugby and de-centralize rugby, i.e. make franchises privately owned and not union managed! 😉

  • Comment 2, posted at 23.09.09 11:18:23 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 2) :

    Now why did you have to go all the way to Timbuktu and back to say that?? 😈

  • Comment 3, posted at 23.09.09 11:21:41 by SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Morné (Comment 2) : Is there anything (rules, regulations etc.) that would prevent me from buying a province outright?

  • Comment 4, posted at 23.09.09 11:23:16 by McLovin Reply

  • @SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) (Comment 3) :

    Because you have to proof why you think it is better than the current system!

    You know what men are like, you have to do all the thinking for them which is what I do!

  • Comment 5, posted at 23.09.09 11:23:21 by Morné Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 4) :

    There are regulations in place when you ‘sell’ off unions or part of the unions.

    Remember unions are affiliated to SA Rugby, some owned by them.

  • Comment 6, posted at 23.09.09 11:24:23 by Morné Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 4) :

    I was told a couple of years back that private entities cannot simply buy stakes in unions.

  • Comment 7, posted at 23.09.09 11:26:26 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 6) : So I can’t buy WP and hire & fire as I please?

  • Comment 8, posted at 23.09.09 11:29:32 by McLovin Reply

  • @Morné (Comment 7) : Is that only SA or SH? I know the NH works differently.

    Thank for the info. 🙂

  • Comment 9, posted at 23.09.09 11:31:57 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 8) :

    Nope unfortunately not – you cannot.

    @McLovin (Comment 9) :

    SA, no idea how it works in Aus and NZ

  • Comment 10, posted at 23.09.09 11:37:16 by Morné Reply
  • ” I will not go into this in detail in the article but I believe you will see the idea behind this is that finances generated by the franchises will be re-invested in their own regions and structures to ensure continued development of talent and producing top class players and coaches

    Dankie tog!! Otherwiese there might be no posting space left at the bottom! :mrgreen:

    Quite Frankly I have NO idea how these “businesses” work…so what you have written (even in a nutshell) is a blank book to me! 😳 😆

  • Comment 11, posted at 23.09.09 11:44:36 by SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) (Comment 11) :

    Well you should have a fair idea of how SA rugby works now dont you?

    Just compare the two!!!

    And just imagine if I went into details!!!

  • Comment 12, posted at 23.09.09 11:46:47 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 5) :

    Ag you dont need to convince me…I always believe you! 😉

    And, most people think on my behalf! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 13, posted at 23.09.09 11:48:07 by SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) (Comment 13) :

    We make the perfect couple then, I will think, and you just believe me 😉

  • Comment 14, posted at 23.09.09 11:49:09 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 14) :

    NOOIT!! You dont support the Sharks!! 😆

  • Comment 15, posted at 23.09.09 11:53:49 by SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Morné (Comment 10) : No wonder our rugby is contaminated buy an element of amateurs.

  • Comment 16, posted at 23.09.09 11:55:49 by McLovin Reply

  • @SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) (Comment 15) :

    I will accept you with your faults! 😉

  • Comment 17, posted at 23.09.09 12:03:02 by Morné Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 16) :

    Power corrupts, absolute power…

  • Comment 18, posted at 23.09.09 12:03:42 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 17) :

    :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 👿

  • Comment 19, posted at 23.09.09 12:06:46 by SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) (Comment 3) : have you ever been to Timbutu?

  • Comment 20, posted at 23.09.09 12:34:27 by Fattmann Reply
    Competition Winner
  • @Fattmann (Comment 20) :

    Sri Lanka? nope..

  • Comment 21, posted at 23.09.09 13:06:16 by SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Fattmann (Comment 20) :

    Not Timbuktu – Mali either… 😐

    For why? ❓

  • Comment 22, posted at 23.09.09 13:10:16 by SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) (Comment 22) : I have to go to Mali next week and i have been in Burkina Faso and i was wondering it Timbukto was as bad a Ougadougou thats all

  • Comment 23, posted at 23.09.09 13:41:39 by Fattmann Reply
    Competition Winner
  • @Fattmann (Comment 23) :

    Ohh…Sorry – cannot help you with This one… 😉 next question… 😆

  • Comment 24, posted at 23.09.09 13:44:06 by SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @SuperGirl Ice Babe(Wingat because I CAN!) (Comment 24) : it was worth a try

  • Comment 25, posted at 23.09.09 13:51:23 by Fattmann Reply
    Competition Winner
  • Hmm. Interesting Dilemma, but i think the solution is to centrally contract players to SARU – so they have control over players and not the Unions which are an outdated.

  • Comment 26, posted at 25.09.09 09:55:51 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • @Worcestershire Sauce (Comment 26) : Did they not used to have a system like that before, im sure Paul Delport and a few others had SARU contracts while still at school?I could be wrong though.

  • Comment 27, posted at 25.09.09 10:00:07 by provincejoulekkading Reply
  • @provincejoulekkading (Comment 27) : Not sure….besides central contracting will stop Rassie contracting frikking Aussies

  • Comment 28, posted at 25.09.09 10:06:14 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • @Morné (Comment 10) : Why not? I thought Rupert was doing that already. 😕 😛

  • Comment 29, posted at 25.09.09 10:29:43 by klempie Reply

  • @Worcestershire Sauce (Comment 28) : I detect some bitterness. 😀

  • Comment 30, posted at 25.09.09 10:36:17 by klempie Reply

  • Going to be a loooooooooooong day. 🙄

  • Comment 31, posted at 25.09.09 10:52:08 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 31) : England are going to get thmuped a bit later to lighten the mood. 😎

  • Comment 32, posted at 25.09.09 10:56:40 by klempie Reply

  • Some good news for Sharks lovers from the BBC.

    Palau is to create the world’s first “shark sanctuary”, banning all commercial shark fishing in its waters.

    The President of the tiny Pacific republic, Johnson Toribiong, will announce the ban during Friday’s session of the UN General Assembly.

    With half of the world’s oceanic sharks at risk of extinction, conservationists regard the move as “game-changing”.

    It will protect about 600,000 sq km (230,000 sq miles) of ocean, an area about the size of France.

    President Toribiong will also call for a global ban on shark-finning, the practice of removing the fins at sea.


  • Comment 33, posted at 25.09.09 10:58:22 by McLovin Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 32) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 34, posted at 25.09.09 10:59:20 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 33) : Hmmmmm. That’s a death knell for his country I’d say. Wouldn’t the bulk of their economy RELY on fishing? I’m checking.

  • Comment 35, posted at 25.09.09 11:01:51 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 35) : I’ve no idea. But surely they can fish other fish apart from sharks.

  • Comment 36, posted at 25.09.09 11:06:47 by McLovin Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 35) :

    Ah ok. Fishing is a minor industry. Good move then. 😎

  • Comment 37, posted at 25.09.09 11:07:02 by klempie Reply

  • When did it become acceptable to uses the word fishes? I always thought the plural was fish?

  • Comment 38, posted at 25.09.09 11:07:52 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 31) : There really not that much news today, and I cant put something arb together, you wanna give it a shot?

  • Comment 39, posted at 25.09.09 11:07:58 by provincejoulekkading Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 36) : Oh I didn’t read commercial shark fishing. 😳

  • Comment 40, posted at 25.09.09 11:08:04 by klempie Reply

  • @provincejoulekkading (Comment 39) : Yeh. Let’s do an analysis of the effect of commercial shark fishing in Palau on species diversity. That’s pretty arb.

  • Comment 41, posted at 25.09.09 11:09:15 by klempie Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 38) : It didn’t. That’s fairly outdated.

  • Comment 42, posted at 25.09.09 11:10:25 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 42) : The book I’m reading at the moment uses ‘fishes’. Written by an Oxford educated ethologist and evolutionary biologist.

  • Comment 43, posted at 25.09.09 11:14:56 by McLovin Reply

  • @provincejoulekkading (Comment 39) : Nee wat, that sounds like too much work. 😆

    I’ll just ramble on, on this thread. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 44, posted at 25.09.09 11:17:38 by McLovin Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 40) : Fished for their fins only. I find that practice disgusting. But that’s just me. 🙂

  • Comment 45, posted at 25.09.09 11:21:01 by McLovin Reply

  • New thread up, should keep you busy for a few minutes

  • Comment 46, posted at 25.09.09 11:28:28 by provincejoulekkading Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 43) : How old is the book?? 😯

  • Comment 47, posted at 25.09.09 11:34:07 by klempie Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 45) : I find shark fishing for fins or whole sharks disgusting either way.

  • Comment 48, posted at 25.09.09 11:34:54 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 47) : First published 2009. Only a couple of months ago in fact.

    Maybe it’s for the benefit of the Americans.

  • Comment 49, posted at 25.09.09 11:46:13 by McLovin Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 48) : Amen brother, amen. 🙂

  • Comment 50, posted at 25.09.09 11:46:55 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 49) : Yanks. 🙄

    * prays Milissa isn’t reading this…

  • Comment 51, posted at 25.09.09 11:50:25 by klempie Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 49) : I think I’ve found the answer.

    Using the plural form fish would imply many individual fish of the same species while fishes would imply many individual fish of differing species.

  • Comment 52, posted at 25.09.09 11:51:16 by McLovin Reply

  • Sounds a bit fishy to me.

  • Comment 53, posted at 25.09.09 11:55:41 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 53) : It’s a grey area to be sure. I mean, if you’re on a trawler and drag netting, you’re gonna be hauling in lots of different species. I doubt the fisherman use fishes when referring to their catch.

  • Comment 54, posted at 25.09.09 13:05:55 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 54) : fishermen 😳

  • Comment 55, posted at 25.09.09 13:19:05 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 54) : Sounds like it’s a science thingy. Anyways I’ll be sticking with fish.

    Might even have some fish and chips later on. 😎

  • Comment 56, posted at 25.09.09 13:59:23 by McLovin Reply

  • Oh crap!! England have SL 25/4. 😯

    I bought tickets to next Friday’s semi under the assumption that SL would finish top of the log. 😥

  • Comment 57, posted at 25.09.09 15:06:36 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 57) : Not to worry, Eng are shite. They struggle to get 220. 😈

  • Comment 58, posted at 25.09.09 15:35:11 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 58) : Here’s hoping…. 😕

  • Comment 59, posted at 25.09.09 16:09:50 by klempie Reply

  • Crap. The Poms are looking good for the win. 👿

  • Comment 60, posted at 25.09.09 21:25:02 by klempie Reply

  • 55 needed off 90 balls with 6 wickets in hand. 😥

  • Comment 61, posted at 25.09.09 21:26:22 by klempie Reply


Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.