For the record: The Springboks future participation in the Rugby Championship is three years (until 2023) and not 10 years as reported by Sanzaar.
SA Rugby CE Jurie Roux enticed Rassie Erasmus back to South Africa from Munster, Ireland. Now he is leading South African rugby into the promised land, 28 years after the Springboks played the All Blacks on their return to international rugby at Ellis Park in 1992.
Roux took a beating when he spoke openly about the value of Erasmus to South African Rugby. This was in 2016 when the Boks had lost to Italy. He never quite got the thank you in 2019 when Erasmus’s Boks whipped England 32-12 in the final.
It is the South African way. Easy to condemn. Easy to applaud, without taking accountability for the condemnation.
Roux and his president Mark Alexander were calm and calculated when the New Zealand rugby leadership announced during Covid19 lockdown that they would no longer be investing in South Africa and that they would be going it alone in 2021’s Super Rugby.
A few months later the Kiwis and Aussies absolutely lost it when South Africa announced the welfare of their players meant more than cash when withdrawing from the Rugby Championship, which is now another Bledisloe Cup, with the addition of Argentina.
We in South Africa have always put the All Blacks on a pedestal, because we love that black jersey and silver fern. Then the Wallabies and Pumas joined a party that no one in South Africa asked them to attend. Forget the ‘also rans’.
The Kiwis and Aussies pulled the plug on South Africa in Super Rugby to say they are doing their own thing. Now they have pulled the plug on SA Rugby by saying the Springboks are in on their international party for the next 10 years.
Nope. It doesn’t work like that.
To the men in black: Your administration showed the green machine no respect.
Now it is going to hurt you financially.
To the Kiwis: Hey, we wanted to meet you in the World Cup final in Tokyo in 2019, but you never got there!
You hold no cards New Zealand … and especially when it comes to broadcast value.
England, as one example, has survived a lifetime without being beaten every Saturday by the All Blacks. Ditto, the future of South African rugby.
Roux and Alexander, in tandem and as a partnership as CE and President, have made the most telling decisions for the good of South African rugby in the past three years.
The decision to go north with our Super Rugby franchises was to safeguard the future of South African rugby. The (lack of ego) decision to stay with the Rugby Championship until 2023, but have an open window, is a seductive business practice. Another round of applause.
South Africa, through the operational presence of Roux, is winning.
Roux knows he holds all the cards and he is playing them just at the right time.
South African rugby has never been better positioned.
And it is because of the leadership of Roux, Alexander and Erasmus that we have a foot in the north and one in the south.
It is why currently SA Rugby leads the way.
FYI … THIS IS A GOOD NEWS STORY FOR SA RUGBY