Cape Town - An internal restructuring to
streamline the identification, development and monitoring of players for all
national teams has been unveiled by the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
A new SARU ‘Rugby Department’ will take
sole responsibility for an unbroken pathway for players and coaches from youth
rugby to Springbok level. A second department responsible for Strategic
Performance Management will monitor rugby’s transformation progress.
The new structure has evolved from the
former Development and High Performance departments, whose functions have been
“The old departments worked hand-in-hand,”
said Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU. “The Development department identified playing
and coaching talent and put their feet on the right path before they would be
picked up by the HP department when they reached senior national teams.
“But there was a dislocation and the chance
that players could fall by the wayside and that we would lose track of them.
The new structure will assist us in following players ‘from the cradle to the
Roux said that the new department would
have four ‘legs’ with responsibilities divided between:
- On-field coaching and
- Off-field logistics and
- Technical analysis and database
- Medical care and safety
All but one role in the new structure has
been filled internally. Rassie Erasmus, the former Springbok player and Currie
Cup-winning coach, leads the new department as General Manager. He was formally
General Manager of High Performance at SARU.
Jacques Nienaber, the former Springbok and WP
defence coach, is the sole new appointment. He has been appointed on a one-year
contract to lead the on-field section of the department as HP Manager. Nienaber
had been a member of SARU’s coaching mobi-unit prior to his appointment.
“From the moment a player appears on our
radar at one of our youth week tournaments we will be able to track his
performance and development all the way through to his retirement,” said Roux.
“We’ll be able to log every minute he has
played for all teams, we’ll have analysed every action in every match for our
national teams, we’ll have a full picture of his entire medical history and
we’ll have been able to identify his strengths and weaknesses and discussed
those with every coach he will have in his career.”
The function of monitoring transformation
in rugby, which had been one of the roles of the old Development department,
had also been re-examined in the restructure, said Roux.
A new department, responsible for Strategic
Performance Management, had been created to concentrate solely on this
function. Mervin Green, the General Manager of the former Development
Department, has been appointed its GM.
“Transformation is something we have worked
very hard on in recent years and spent many thousands of hours on with
roadshows, workshops and audits to develop our strategic approach,” said Roux.
“We have to measure it to be able to manage
it and the new Strategic Performance Management department will have that sole
focus, aligned to the expectations we place on ourselves internally and those
that are placed on us by our external stakeholders such as SASCOC and
The new structure will come into full
effect from the New Year.