Where’s Bill?

You would never know the Springboks won the World Cup if you’d only arrived in South Africa last week. There isn’t a hint to suggest our boys are champions of the world when it comes to rugby.

The Cup, I am told, is safely tucked away in a cabinet at the South African Rugby Union headquarters in Newlands.

Incumbent SARU president Oregan Hoskins is fighting his deputy Mike Stofile for the right to be president of the South African Rugby Union for the next two years. The national union’s 14 provincial presidents continue to be at odds with themselves as to whether they want to run South African rugby and have the responsibility or run it without the responsibility, which means they’ll continue to accommodate SA Rugby Pty Ltd, which in turn provides an easy scapegoat for any criticism of the presidents.

And our Super 14 franchises, with the exception of the Sharks, are already in battle for the tournament’s wooden spoon.

The game, I am told, is in crisis. The game, I am further told, will never be the same.

The prophets of doom have spoken, as they tend to do immediately after every World Cup when New Zealand embarks on its three year global domination.

The game, unfortunately, is always in a state of crisis in South Africa. But that does not mean it is the end of the game as played by South Africans. Our game has known far darker, more divisive and brutal days.

That our Super 14 franchises are struggling is nothing new. The only time in the last 12 years when they have not battled through the first month was last year when 22 All Blacks were rested.

Which makes the South African Rugby Union (again read SA Rugby Pty Ltd’s) inability (possibly even refusal) to maximize the yellow cup New Zealand’s entire population so craves an enigma.

We have that Cup. It is ours for the next four years. Why aren’t we glorifying it? And I don’t mean it arrogantly.

Why is it not on show at one of our weekly home Super 14 matches? There can be no greater inspiration to the next generation of player.

Why is there no aggressive push to further promote the game because of the heroics of the Springboks on October 20? It is as if the custodians of the game want to forget Jake White and his World Cup-winning Springboks rather than embrace and promote their achievements.

The Springboks currently are the official team of the year in global sport. That is the magnitude of the win in Paris.

If New Zealand had won the World Cup and four of their five Super 14 franchises were struggling you wouldn’t know they were having an early season regional hiccup. All you’d see, hear about and be subjected to in conversation is that the All Blacks are champions of the world.

In this country we struggle with the concept of being the best or celebrating being the best. It is time we lost the inferiority complex, but it would also help if those employees and administrators at Newlands led the way.

It is easier written.

The professional unit, which is SA Rugby Pty Ltd, has no marketing team left, which could be just one reason why the Cup gathers dust in these troubled Super 14 times.

There has been no urgency to replace them, just like there was no rush to replace the incomparable Springbok Public Relations Manager Anne Lee Murray. The IRB snapped her up before the World Cup and a successor is yet to be named.

Murray flourishes in Dublin as the IRB’s commercial manager, while the William Webb Ellis trophy remains stored. Jake White talks about marketing when he should be talking about rugby …

These are things that have to change. These are troubled times in South African rugby, but they could be so much better if the good, which was earned in Paris, is tastefully and consistently celebrated.