SA Rugby president Mark Alexander says ‘there has undoubtedly been a failure to provide opportunities for black coaches’, but reiterated the plan to deliver on a ‘fast-track programme’.
This week, a group of 49 rugby coaches and ex-players joined forces to throw their support behind the ever-growing Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, while pointing out inequalities within the local rugby system.
In a statement, the group particularly highlighted:
- 100% exclusion of black head coaches at Springbok, SA U20, PRO14, Super Rugby and Premier Currie Cup
- 100% exclusion of black CEOs
- 100% exclusion of blacks as high-performance managers.
In an interview with Sport24, Alexander emphasised the steps being taken to address the matter.
‘The Springboks proved in 2019 that diversity is a strength of our country and our sport, thanks to a diverse team and management structure. But there has undoubtedly been a failure to provide opportunities for black coaches,’ Alexander said.
‘Although there have been occasions when all four senior national teams have had black coaches, we would agree that the appointment and promotion of black coaches across the board has been inadequate. We have publicly expressed our concern about this failing on several occasions in the recent past.
‘The question is: what are we doing about it? We believe our Strategic Transformation Plan (STP) made encouraging strides up to 2019 in transforming playing squads, culminating in the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup squad. The same targets were set for coaches with much less success, we acknowledge.’
However, Alexander added that the process has been renewed in a ‘Strategic Transformation Development Plan 2030’.
‘[The STDP] charges our members and national structures to accelerate the appointment of black coaches with a target that aims at a minimum target of 60% of black coaches across the board by its conclusion.
‘To drive that process the rugby department had developed a fast-track programme for black coaches before Covid struck. It will not be allowed to gather dust. All our members have signed up to the STDP 2030 plan. It is now up to us to deliver.’