The Springboks are going to play a Test in a red jersey. Doc Craven must be turning in his grave. Everything he warned about money changing rugby if it went professional is coming true.
I read in the paper that the red jersey is to celebrate 25 years of rugby unity. That’s rubbish, it’s a marketing tool to sell more jerseys.
If we can’t sell the green and gold jersey, and we need to turn it red to sell it, then we’ve got a serious problem.
A decade after being number one in the world, we’re changing the colour of our jersey. The question is why? And who is responsible for that slide?
Coaches get hired and fired, and scrutinised and measured according to stats and results, but where is the analysis on the administrators’ performance?
I’ve always said administrators need to run the game the way they see fit and then be judged on whether there are bums on seats and whether there are sponsors.
I see that a few Australian rugby administrators have resigned this week after the Force debacle. Bill Pulver is falling on his sword and I respect that.
He thought more Super Rugby teams and more money was better for the competition and, two years later, it isn’t. But I respect that he was brave enough to try and he’s now accountable for those decisions.
If the Springboks can’t sell a green and gold jersey, then maybe we need to look at the rugby results we’re selling and not the colour of the jersey. The way to sell more jerseys is by getting the rugby right.
The All Blacks haven’t changed the colour of their jersey, and neither have FC Barcelona. Imagine if Manchester United decided to make their home jersey green?
When you’re a coach at the coalface of professional rugby, you’re selling the dream of playing in a jersey to players. To an administrator, changing the colour doesn’t seem like a big thing, but to a coach it’s a huge thing because you’re changing that dream.
It’s like a boy finally making the SACS first XV and then the jersey is yellow – it’s not the same as the jersey his dad played in.
People will say “it’s only for one game”, but it isn’t. Where does it stop? Next we’ll be making exceptions so a guy can play for South Africa with a ponytail.
It’s never “just one time”, it’s the start of a slippery slope.
It amazes me that people don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying the change is to sell more jerseys. That’s an admission that we need to change the jersey colour because we need to raise money.
Isn’t that the same as when the media says a coach has lost the change room? How come an administrator never loses the support of the public?
Are South African rugby supporters happy that we’ve got two teams leaving Super Rugby to go to Europe? Are they happy the Boks will be playing in red jerseys? Surely those are the measurables for an administrator?
Everyone in world rugby understands what you mean when you talk about playing for the Green and Gold. It’s in the Springbok code of conduct to wear the Green and Gold with pride and conduct yourself accordingly so, theoretically, we have to change that code to include the red, black, yellow and blue?
Kitch Christie is one of the greatest coaches in Springbok history. He played Mark Andrews at No 8 in the 1995 World Cup final, and if they’d lost, he would never have been remembered as one of the greats, because coaches are measured on results.
Shouldn’t it be the same for rugby’s administrators?