Club rugby top priority: Roux

2012-07-02 20:23

Cape Town - The nationwide revival of club rugby remained one of SARU's top priorities and plans to safeguard its survival were at an advanced stage, CEO Jurie Roux said on Monday.

Roux announced the launch of a national club rugby SMS results line and said that raising public awareness around club rugby activity countrywide formed just one part of his organisation's long-term strategy to revamp and improve the game at club level.

“We have over 800 clubs that play every weekend across SA, but supporters often aren't even aware of matches taking place in their community,” said Roux. “We are hoping that clubs will take full advantage of this initiative so that, in partnership with national, regional and local media, club rugby can steadily reclaim its rightful place in the public consciousness.

“Through our provincial unions we have appealed to every club in the country to SMS their 1st team scores to 44678 (charged at standard rates) after every match, thereby leading to increased exposure,” added Roux. “The SARU website ( also constantly updates fixtures, results and logs from club leagues in all 14 provinces, while our presence on the social media platform Twitter (@saclubrugby) has proven very popular.”

Roux said a recently-completed countrywide investigation into the challenges facing club rugby had given SARU crucial insights into the way forward. “Over the past year we've visited all the provinces to listen to what ordinary club people had to say and we are keeping our finger on the pulse of club rugby by making sure we attend games in different provinces every week,” he said.

“We are also busy with a ground-breaking, independent and scientific national census of SA rugby at schools and club level. As we speak, qualified researchers are travelling the length and breadth of the country, from the major metropolitan areas to the most remote Transkei villages, in order to accurately gauge the health of the sport at the grassroots level.”

Roux added that a decision to exclude universities from this year's National Club Championships in Rustenburg in September was in keeping with SARU's pledge to provide non-university clubs with  similar levels of exposure as their student counterparts.

“It is an open secret that we are re-looking the format of competitions including the Club Champs and the various Amateur Provincial and Sub-Union competitions, so that players from non-university clubs are given every chance of reaching their potential,” said Roux. “We've already held workshops with all provinces about the way forward and together with them we look forward to making further announcements in due course.”

Roux said clubs would also play a more important development role in future. “This is long overdue because clubs have not played as important a part in the development process over the past two decades as they perhaps should have,” he said. “The link between schools and clubs is vital, especially when you consider that so many schoolboys stop playing after matric, and our development strategy will ensure that clubs become the hubs around which development in communities takes place.”


  • lunga.biyela.5 - 2012-07-02 21:09

    How about a national club championship similar to the Varsity Cup? Take the best two or three clubs from each union and create a nationwide league competition? Making the club game professional would grow the pool of talent we have in the country. Just a suggestion.

      thomas.cannon.712 - 2012-07-03 01:06

      What the clubs need is exposure and people with no rugby interests at heart to keep their grubby fingers out of rugby!!!!

  • dewald.mare - 2012-07-02 21:41

    Lunga, there is already a National Club Championship every year.

      stephan.kriel1 - 2012-07-03 06:08

      yes but the championship you are talking of is only for a weekend what Lunga means is that we would like a series of say 16 best clubs playing every weekend the same competition as Vodacom cup with the same media exposure!! that will boost club rugby!!

  • bill.vanzyl - 2012-07-02 22:09

    Club rugby needs media exposure, it needs publicity, it needs to attract people to the clubs and matches. Exposure generates revenues, and revenues are critical for the survival and growth of club rugby. Small crowds and a disinterested public means that commercial sponsors receive very little exposure for their sponsorship rand at the games, they have to hope for some exposure in the media. This simply will not happen while the broadcast media focus only on internationals, S15 and the Currie Cup. Newspapers are a dying medium with shrinking circulation as electronic media takes over, slowly but surely killing the one medium that could still provide club level sponsors with some exposure. How are the clubs going to survive and flourish without funding? Certainly the provincial unions give very very little to the clubs, while the S15 franchises give nothing. In fact, by contracting professional players to the union or franchise yet another possible drawcard for spectators to attend club matches is taken out of the equation. In years gone by school kids scrambled down to the local club grounds where their provincial and Springbok players were representing their local club, their parents followed them to the games and club rugby flourished. Today the unions and franchises and a chock-a-block season of senior rugby have stolen away that drawcard, even at U20 level, and there are simply no more local heroes out there! I am afraid that the future of club rugby is uncertain at best.

  • phillip.beukes.5 - 2012-07-03 08:12

    20 years ago, all provincial players were members of clubs... even though they did not play for them on a regular basis, it still braught a large amount of intrest to the clubs, when they did or when they attended the club games. This made the clubs an inportant stepping stone. These days the young players go directly from school into the provoncial structures. Make them part of the clubs again... not really to play for them, but to be ambassadors or even part of the coaching or a mentorship. There are enough highly skilled people out there that could be used...

      phillip.beukes.5 - 2012-07-03 08:13

      ps... spelling is not best before at least 5 cups of coffee...then i am so hyper, i just dont care...

      sulaiman.galant.7 - 2012-07-03 08:41

      True, because clubs like Hamiltons and Primroses don't feature anymore but rather the school rugby and if your children don't go to schools like Rondebosch and Wynberg schools there talent will not be show cased although I must also say that some of the kids does get invitations for trials to play provincially even if they play for a club and not a school.

  • legndkilla - 2012-07-03 08:57

    its about time they started taking note of club rugby...

  • darron.nagel - 2012-07-03 08:57

    Many valid points made , I also feel strongly and sadly about the decline of club rugby in the rural (Platteland areas) I originally hail from Mpumalanga and it is sad to see that clubs like Ermelo can hardly field a side. However in the Western Cape it is nice to see that there are people that really still have a true passsion for the game at amateur level. A lot of clubs can learn from Durbanville/Bellville rugby club in this regard where on some Friday evenings we have 200 plus people coming to support our 5th side and when the first side plays the place is packed. I feel as well that clubs should strive to make "The day at a game" a more family free environment! your comments welcome. PS: Great suggestion Lunga.

  • darron.nagel - 2012-07-03 08:58

    Family friendly apologies

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