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FIRST ON EWN: Hoskins lifts lid on state of SA rugby

In a wide-ranging interview, former SA rugby boss Oregan Hoskins spoke of the pressures of the job.

President of the South African Rugby Union (Saru), Oregan Hoskins, attended the announcement of the new Springbok rugby coach in Johannesburg. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Former South African Rugby President Oregan Hoskins has told Eyewitness News that the appointment of Allister Coetzee as Springbok coach was a decision he was completely uncertain about and it gave him sleepless nights following Heyneke Meyer's decision not to seek a contract renewal after the 2015 World Cup.

In an exclusive interview Hoskins, who announced his shock resignation on 17 August, lifted the lid on the enormous pressure that he felt in the job - airing his views on the stress around the appointment of Coetzee, the serious challenge of transformation facing rugby and his angst over what the future for the game holds in South Africa.

Hoskins' demise, by his own admission, came about when he lost the backing of the Executive Council, a body that he chaired in an apparent power struggle with the organisation's CEO Jurie Roux.

Coetzee was appointed in April after a lengthy delay in naming him, with the likes of Rassie Erasmus also said to be a contender.

With the challenges facing the Bok coach, Hoskins says it was a decision that tormented him.

"I actually didn't know the answer sitting as the president at the beginning of this year. The one problem I didn't want to deal with was who should be the next coach, because I felt that whoever took the poison chalice was really going to have a tough time."

TRANSFORMATION

Hoskins says that it's becoming increasingly more difficult to be the Springbok coach. He says that the public pressure in naming the new coach was enormous.

"There was massive rugby public opinion and Wynand Claassen and Divan Serfontein led the charge . They came out strongly against Heyneke, to put it mildly. They actually campaigned and got some of the former Springboks to sign petitions to get Heyneke fired."

He says with the increasing pressure of players leaving for careers abroad, he was uncertain as to who should take over from Meyer.

"You know if you look at the exodus of our top players, anybody who is appointed as the national coach is on a hiding."

INTERVENTION

Hoskins says that the state of the game in South Africa is in such a crisis that immediate urgent remedial action is required to save it from permanent ruin.

He says that drastic measures are needed immediately.

"We are at a point now where a Codesa for rugby, if I can put it that way, a national convention is needed where we call in our stakeholders in the game, the people who are putting a lot of money in the game. Let's be blunt, I am talking about the Remgros, the SuperSports of this world."

He is of the view that the current Southern Hemisphere alliance of South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina isn't workable and South African rugby should be looking elsewhere.

"We need people to sit around the table and ask where we stop the hemorrhaging, do we continue with SANZAR? I respectfully said five years ago that we need to be out of SANZAR, we need to be in the Northern Hemisphere."

Hoskins adds he reveal the real reasons behind his decision to step down as president in time.

"It's no secret that there were issues with me and the Executive Council as it's been documented in the media. Obviously the issues will come out in good time, I would prefer not to take rugby through washing dirty linen in public at the moment."

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