Sponsors’ exit calls for reality check

Saru deputy president Mark Alexander says the loss of a couple of key sponsors is a ‘wake-up call’ for SA rugby.

Absa and BMW recently confirmed that they would not be renewing their contracts that expire at the end of this year.

Although Saru is believed to be lining up replacement sponsors, the withdrawal of both Absa and BMW has raised some concern over the enduring strength of the South African rugby brand.

‘I think it is a wake-up call for everybody,’ Alexander said at the launch of the Saru academy system in Sandton on Tuesday. ‘If we want to survive as a sport in this country we need to target the majority of the people. There are many sporting codes and if we want to keep it attractive, we need to appeal to the majority of the population and that is what we are trying to achieve.’

The slow rate of transformation has been identified as one of the factors that has disillusioned sponsors, but Alexander called on ‘corporate South Africa’ to continue providing their backing so that Saru could deliver on its mandates.

Boks lose jersey sponsor

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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Craig Lewis