Editorial | Alexander likely to keep hot seat

Politics and all the back-stabbing associated with the South African game will come to the fore when SA Rugby holds its annual meeting in Cape Town on Friday.

With the Springboks ranked a lowly sixth in world rugby and Rassie Erasmus taking over as coach from an under-performing Allister Coetzee, many fans would like to see heads roll in the boardroom.

However, this is unlikely to happen in a conservative rugby environment where change is often frowned upon.

Although he will face a challenge to his leadership, incumbent Mark Alexander is favoured to maintain his position as the main man in South African rugby.

An astute operator, Alexander is said to be a popular figure in the corridors of power where the big decisions are taken.

It will not, however, be a straight-forward coronation of Alexander.

Little-known Leopards president Andre May has decided to put his hat in the ring to see whether SA Rugby is ready for change.

How much support he enjoys remains to be seen, though it would be a major shock if he managed to unseat Alexander.
May, a Potchefstroom advocate, has often been critical of SA Rugby at previous annual meetings.

He is also a former lock who featured in 75 matches for the previous Western Transvaal and has been part of a number of SA Rugby committees.

It is expected Alexander will garner support from the big unions while May will want the smaller ones to gather around his plan.

May’s nomination, along with that of Dr Jan Marais as deputy president, has been interpreted as a revolt from the smaller unions who want a revamp of SA Rugby’s competitions structure.

The smaller unions are apparently aggrieved at the vast amount spent on keeping the Southern Kings and Cheetahs in the PRO14.

Alexander took over in 2016 after Oregan Hoskins stood down following a decade in the hot seat.

He has had close dealings with EP Rugby in recent times and visited Port Elizabeth on several occasions after a cash crisis engulfed the union.

Despite misgivings about the state of SA Rugby, it will be a major surprise if heads do roll.