Boland brain drain: Transformation the real reason

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 09:54
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REACTION: Transformation is at the heart of the brain drain at the Boland Rugby Union. rugby365 shines the spotlight on this development!

Boland's board of directors have, for the first time, revealed the real reasons behind the departure of Alan Zondagh - who resigned from his post of Director of Rugby last week.

His departure was followed by the announcement this week that Brent Janse van Rensburg has resigned as head coach of the Boland Cavaliers.

Zondagh cited "excessive interference by the board and the executive of the Boland Rugby Union" as his reason for walking out before the end of the season.

Janse van Rensburg waited till after the team's final Currie Cup league match this past weekend, but gave no reason for his departure.

Inside sources suggested his departure is linked to the fall-out between Zondagh and the board - which have now confirmed that transformation was a "serious point of contention".

Apparently Janse van Rensburg has been scouting the landscape for another coaching job for some time and an announcement is imminent.

What is more revealing is that Zondagh, who was not paid for fulfilling his role as Director of Rugby, wanted to build a winning culture and turn Boland into a competitive union.

He did just that, helping them qualifying for the Currie Cup Premier Division for the first time in almost a decade.

However, the board placed a bigger premium on adhering to "transformation targets" - the result of a contract that exists between the Minster of Sport and the South African Rugby Union.

Earlier this year the minister, Fikile Mbalula, slapped a ban on SARU - preventing them from bidding to host major international events, because they were falling short of the targets prescribed in the "contract" that exists between government and the national body.

The inability of domestic unions to reach "targets" (the prescribed quota of black players, coaches and administrators) were cited as one of the reasons for the ban.

It cast doubt on SARU's bid to host the 2023 World Cup.

SARU have since announced their intention to formally bid to host the 2023 World Cup, because they are confident of meeting the government's prescribed targets when next they are assessed.

It is obvious, from the Boland board's statement, that this has filtered through to domestic competitions and was at the heart of Zondagh's fall-out with the board.

"It is with regret that we received notice of the resignation, with immediate effect, of Alan Zondagh," the board said in a statement.

Zondagh was appointed Director of Rugby in January 2016. His appointment came after extensive negotiations between him and the Boland Rugby Union, especially about his role and function as a Director of Rugby and per sè about his relationship with management, executive council and board of directors.

"The Director was not on the payroll of the union and thus functioned independently and without restrictions.

"During his term of office we did have several meetings where serious concerns were raised about his modus operandi and his scant disregard for the board of directors as a decision making structure and for bypassing existing policy that needed to be adhered to.

"Major differences occurred with regards to contracting of players and the apparent strangle hold on the elite squads and other structures of the union.

"The Cavaliers became 100 percent *RPC-based and practices and everything else happened there.

"A serious point of contention in our deliberations was the need to stick to transformation targets and to work to a situation where the geographical equity targets would not be an issue once Boland teams are selected.

"Zondagh is a well-known rugby guru and an accomplished business man, being tied down with rugby politics and protocols is not in his ambit.

"His relationship with Remgro has never been an issue and we are grateful for Remgro for assisting us in the way they did and still do.

"We reluctantly, but respectfully parted ways with Zondagh and trust that his expertise and foresight would remain available for rugby in our region.

"We wish him everything of the best."

* Alan Zondagh started the Rugby Performance Center (RPC) in 2005 to create a professional, disciplined and scientific institution to prepare young talented rugby players for the professional game. For the first three years the RPC ran it's operation from Cape Town, but now the RPC Rugby Campus is situated in the Riebeek Valley, only one hour's drive from Cape Town. This new facility is a Private Training Facility for school, club & professional teams. The RPC is also the primary training headquarters of the Boland Rugby Union and the Boland Cavaliers, as well as a training facility for various Boland Rugby development programmes including, coaching clinics, workshops and rugby camps. The purpose of the RPC was to create a professional, disciplined and scientific institution to prepare young talented rugby players for the professional game. The RPC campus possesses all the facilities in order to offer a professional and scientific service to the Boland Rugby Union.

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