Border Bulldogs to make a comeback
By Khuthala Nandipha
The Border Bulldogs are expected to participate in national rugby competitions again after an intervention by Fezeka Bayeni, MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture and the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
The Border Rugby Union (BRU) has applied for funding for the 2020 season from the provincial government (applied or granted). In April this year, BRU received R4.2 million from SARU.
A three-stakeholder meeting was held in East London this month, at the request of the 38-year old MEC who is an avid sports fanatic. They formulated a two-year plan to revive Border Rugby, including financial injections by the department and SARU.
“The World Cup victory has inspired many young people who see themselves as future Springboks. As the government, it is imperative for us to create an environment where the talent of these young people is nurtured in order to realise their dreams of becoming the next Siya Kolisi, Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpis of the future. We must put in place measures to create a nurturing environment for the development of rugby in the province,” said Bayeni.
Monde Tabata, SARU representative in the Border Rugby said BRU’s challenges had to do with the overall pressure that was on all rugby unions in 2016. “Unfortunately, they did not respond to the financial crisis as quickly as other unions did, leading to a financial crunch as they were then unable to meet all their financial obligations,” he said
In governance, BRU needs to improve its culture of accountability and responsiveness. Going forward, Tabata added that the Executive and the general council which is made up of clubs, need to play their role to avert the problems that faced Border Rugby Union then and now.
“SARU is working to resolve the debt position of BRU so that when it exits as the Administrator, the BRU is free of debt. SARU continues to promote club rugby, women’s rugby, youth and school’s rugby training and development of coaches and referees. It is hoped that more of the SARU and World Rugby accredited development programmes, will be made available to the clubs,” said Tabata.
Three staff members of BRU have been retained to ensure that services to clubs, women’s rugby and to coaches are available to the membership of Border Rugby Union.
The Union submitted a detailed report to Bayeni on the state of Governance and finance.
MEC Bayeni and Mark Alexander, President of SARU agreed to directly champion the campaign to revive Border Rugby. Bayeni will further embark on a broad consultation of all the stakeholders of Border Rugby including the sub-unions, rugby clubs, rugby veterans, local businesses and the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality.
The full and detailed plan to help revive Border Rugby will be shared with the public once these consultations have been concluded and all the relevant stakeholders have submitted their contributions to the plan.