The surprise resignation of often controversial SA Rugby Union (Saru) boss Oregan Hoskins, 18 months ahead of his contract ending, leaves space for new blood to take over, he told The Citizen yesterday.
In April, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula revoked the rights of several sporting codes, including rugby, to host or bid to host international tournaments due to their failure to meet transformation targets. Asked if he was satisfied with transformation in rugby, Hoskins said it was a difficult question to answer.
“Yes and no, it’s … I wish I could say I’m happy, full stop. I’m happy with certain aspects of it but I still think transformation will be a challenge going forward,” Hoskins said. “Unless all stakeholders, and I really want to underline all – government, financiers to the game, administrators in the game – sit down and work together on the issue of transformation, it is always going to be an uphill battle if left solely to administrators.”
During Hoskins’ reign, the Boks took the trophy in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, a series victory over the British & Irish Lions, the 2009 Tri-Nations title and rugby sevens titles – including Commonwealth gold and an Olympic bronze medal at the Rio Olympics.
With only a third place at the 2015 World Cup, where South Africa was on the receiving end of a Japanese rugby-for-dummies lesson, and the last big win at the 2009 Tri-Nations, Hoskins’ detractors have much to criticise.
“I’ve had tough issues to deal with lately, very, very difficult tough issues, and so it’s been that, coupled with the fact that it is important rugby has new blood, new leadership and a new dynamic,” Hoskins said. “And I’ve been blessed, absolutely blessed, in the position. No one is indispensable, certainly not me, and I think I’ve given it my best shot.”
Hoskins told the Saru general council in Johannesburg of his decision yesterday and said he believed the timing for his departure was “absolutely right”.
“I have enjoyed a remarkable 10 and a half years in one of the most high-profile roles in South African sport and have enjoyed some incredible highs,” Hoskins said in his Saru-approved statement.
“It has been a pleasure and a privilege and I want to thank everyone involved in South African rugby for the fantastic journey we have shared.” Saru deputy president Mark Alexander will step in as interim president until an election is held.