Hoskins breaks silence
Johannesburg - South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins has finally broken his silence and confirmed that he will stand again for re-elections in next month’s elections.
Hoskins told Supersport.com that he had decided to stand again after intervention from the main sponsors of rugby in the country, who asked him to continue as the head of South African rugby for another two years.
Hoskins added that he has “a job to finish” that he started four years ago, but said he didn’t forsee a repeat of the ugly bartering for votes that marred his original election win against Mike Stofile four years ago.
Stofile has already indicated he will stand for President again, and was joined by Hoskins’ deputy Mark Alexander on Thursday. An expected challenge from Rauties Rautenbach appears to have been withdrawn while there is also talk that Pumas president Hein Mentz may also put his name on the ballot.
Hoskins admitted that he and Alexander had a “gentleman’s agreement” not to stand against each other, but explained that he had not spoken to Alexander since making his decision. Hoskins had informed the provincial presidents of his decision this past week, setting the process in motion.
With SARU in the middle of a restructuring process, a World Cup looming and all major sponsorship contracts to be renewed this year, Hoskins feels it will be more prudent for him to stay on and keep the status quo.
“I’ve made my decision because of there is unfinished business at SARU,” Hoskins told Supersport.com.
“We’re in the middle of our strategic plan, which runs until 2011. I believe it is imperative that we see this through to the end.
“Firstly, we’re in the middle of a very important restructuring process at SARU after we collapsed the company SA Rugby. That entails operational rationalization both above and below the line. We haven’t done that yet.
“We have to put the staff into the new pockets of the new operational structure. They will be very different to their current structure. I believe it will be a real challenge, but exciting as well, especially when our staff see the different departments that we have divided them into.
“Part of the strategic plan is transformation and development and we want to implement our strategic funding policy in this regard, where we will take a more focused look at how money is spent on transformation. To drop this now, would be disaster.
Hoskins said the sponsors were a big driving force in his decision not to quit after four years at the helm of SA Rugby.
“The relationship with the sponsors is at a very good position at the moment. I’ve worked with the sponsors for four years and they actually urged me to stay on in my role as president.
“In fact I met with the sponsor’s representative on Monday and they urged me to reconsider my initial thoughts of standing down as President. It made me realize that if the sponsors are happy with SA Rugby, unlike their relationship with the previous regime, it is good to know that there is a vote of confidence in the product.
“From a governance perspective, they are satisfied. We know we’re not perfect, but we’ve come a long way as an organization in the last four years. For instance the sponsors have a seat at on our Board that they’ve never taken up – they don’t deem it necessary under my presidency.”
“The final piece of the puzzle is the 2011 World Cup. I’ve had discussions with Peter de Villiers (Bok Coach) on his vision for the tournament and we will make an announcement soon. But it is important that we give our Springboks the best chance possible to win the tournament and keep the William Webb Ellis trophy in the country.”