As we wait for the big guns of rugby and cricket to get back in the arena, we look at some other news from around the globe.
Bafana Hanging On
South Africans always have such high hopes when it comes to their sports teams. Drawing with Mali was a disappointment for me, despite the fact that Mali managed to beat the higher ranked Nigerian side in their opening match. If statistics can be trusted, then we should also beat Nigeria 2-1, but it will take more than statistics to get us to the next phase. Let’s hope the team retain their confidence after the first game and win handsomely – the whole country needs it desperately.
Ben Mowen Shock
Ewen McKenzie, Australia’s national rugby coach, must have been disappointed to learn that Ben Mowen, who was appointed Wallabies skipper by the coach during last year’s European tour, will be heading to France at the end of 2014. According to the NZ Herald, he indicated that it was a “family-first” decision.
Will Genia should be the top contender to replace Mowen, with his Reds teammates, James Horwill and Quade Cooper, among those being suggested as replacements.
McKenzie is strict on discipline, and his treatment of players who stepped over the mark confirms this. Apparently, the current policy is that those who elect to play overseas are not eligible for selection for the national side. This will make life difficult for McKenzie – there is simply not enough depth in the Aussie squad.
Perhaps he will take a politician’s view on this one: I have principles – if you don’t like them, I’ve got others.
Fiji Suffers Serious Blow
The International Rugby Board confirmed that it is to suspend all direct financial support to the Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) with immediate effect until the Union adopts key financial reporting, administration and governance reforms.
The decision was reluctantly made after the Union failed to implement recommended measures to provide assurances to the IRB that it was appropriately moving to address significant concerns regarding the administration and governance of the Union. The recommendations arose from an IRB Major Union Review which was conducted after the Union requested emergency financial assistance in May last year.
The IRB and the FORU Regional Association have formally expressed concerns that the financial position of the Union is unsustainable and could create instability and impact on the management of the Union and key IRB-funded development and high performance programmes.
The IRB committed GB£1.1million (FJ$3.3million) in direct funding to the FRU in 2013 and significant additional financial assistance to participate in international tournaments in 2013.
This decision affects both the sevens and 15 man codes of the game.
In response, Fiji indicated that they were not given enough time to implement the proposed changes.
The rugby world, and particularly the sevens code, will be so much poorer if these fleet- footed giants disappear from the stage. We wish them well in sorting out the problems sooner, rather than later.