However, he warned that if tough decisions have to be made in the coming weeks, SA Rugby “will not shy away from making them”.
Coach Allister Coetzee is under pressure to hold on to his job after the Boks lost their eighth Test out of 12 in their 27-13 defeat to Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday night – the most in a calendar year by a South African team.
Last weekend’s 20-18 reverse against Italy in Florence could’ve been regarded as the death knell for Coetzee, but the Welsh loss resulted in an unwanted South African record that would make it difficult for his bosses to justify keeping him on.
There was also the record 57-15 loss to the All Blacks in Durban, while they also went down to Ireland at home and Argentina away for the first time.
Alexander said on Saturday night that a comprehensive review of the Springbok team and an overhaul of the SA Rugby administration would take place in the coming weeks, which could include allowing third parties to be majority shareholders in Super Rugby franchises.
Even if SA Rugby decides to let Coetzee go – which is highly likely – at a General Council meeting on December 9, the evaluation of the game will still take place.
Following last month’s coaching indaba, a fitness and conditioning workshop between the SA Rugby fitness staff and Super Rugby biokineticists is scheduled for December 7, while the Bok coaches and their Super Rugby counterparts will get together on December 12 to decide on the best way forward for South African players.
“It has been a profoundly disappointing season in terms of results and we are acutely aware that we have failed to live up to the Springboks’ proud heritage, despite today’s result against Wales,” Alexander said in a statement.
“We have collectively let down our supporters, our commercial partners and our broadcast partner SuperSport. I would like to apologise to all our stakeholders for the disappointments we have all suffered this season. We are all feeling very raw and let down, and it would be easy to make knee-jerk decisions. But we must resist that.
“For instance, our playing fortunes have been declining since the Outgoing Tour of 2014 – despite a fine fightback to win a bronze medal at the Rugby World Cup – and we must coolly and coldly analyse what have been the main factors contributing to those results before determining what remedies are at our disposal to solve them.
“We will start by speaking to the coach and other team roleplayers for their assessment and to provide our feedback. We will take feedback from forthcoming indabas and we must critically review our selection policy relating to overseas-based players.
“We’ve seen an unusually high number of injuries to key players this year, and we’ve lost many experienced Test players to overseas clubs, both of which have had major repercussions for the Springboks. We have to find ways to manage these challenges. But I can assure our supporters and stakeholders that if tough decisions have to be made, we will not shy away from making them.”
In terms of SA Rugby’s structure, Alexander said some of the changes planned include setting up rugby committees for franchise and non-franchise teams, allowed third parties to be majority shareholders in the commercial arms of provinces, doubling independent representation on the Executive Council to four, and terminating the post of vice-president in 2018, when incumbent James Stoffberg’s term ends.
A “sounding board” for rugby, dubbed an Advisory Board, may also be created, consisting of “eminent individuals from business and civic society”, although it wouldn’t have any official role on the Executive Council.
Original source: Saru to resist knee-jerk reaction?