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Thread: Stofile Picks His Sidekicks for Top Jobs

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    Stofile Picks His Sidekicks for Top Jobs

    Zeena Isaacs Johannesburg

    THE run-up to the South African Rugby Union's (Saru's) presidential election this month is beginning to look more like the build-up to the African National Congress's Polokwane conference.


    Mike Stofile

    It was revealed yesterday that Saru deputy president Mike Stofile
    -- who will go head-to-head with Saru president Oregan Hoskins for the presidency -- has opted for "a package deal" of president, deputy president and vice-president for the election.


    Oregan Hoskins

    Three high-profile provincial union representatives confirmed yesterday that Stofile's choice for deputy was Western Province Rugby Union president Tobie Titus and Falcons Rugby Union president Rautie Rautenbach as his vice-president.

    While this may be unheard of within Saru, it is a clever move by Stofile as he will have peace of mind going into the election knowing that he will be able to work with his deputy and vice-president if he gets the top job.

    This in turn could save Saru from the widely publicised infighting which has plagued the organisation for years.

    The deadline for nominations for the organisation's three top positions closes on Saturday and the names of the candidates are expected to be released to the provinces on Monday.

    A source at one of the small provincial unions said yesterday: "Mike has picked who he wants to work with and that will give him some security because he knows them well.

    "I am not certain that this will stop the infighting in Saru, but hopefully it will."

    Hoskins, on the other hand, is going into the election solo despite suspicions in certain quarters that he would like Eastern Province and Griffons rugby union presidents Pat de Silva and Jan Marais respectively to be his deputy and vice-president.

    It also emerged yesterday that former Southern Spears CEO Tony McKeever has made himself available to take over the SA Rugby MD position should Stofile win the election.


    Tony McKeever

    The position is now occupied by Jonathan Stones.

    All this indicates that if Stofile were to take over the hot seat from Hoskins there could be wholesale changes at Saru's headquarters in Cape Town.

    McKeever confirmed yesterday that he would like to take over the MD position. He said: "I am available if Mike wants to call on me."

    "There is no one better qualified for the position than me because I know the union and its problems and I will be able to resolve them quickly. I have also worked with Peter de Villiers (Springbok coach) for eight months at the Spears and that means we will have a good working relationship."


    Peter de Villiers

    Interestingly, McKeever has been the leading figure in the court battles between the Spears and SA Rugby in an attempt to get SA Rugby to pay damages following the collapse of the Super 14 franchise.

    A decision by Stofile to get him on board could prevent a situation of SA Rugby coughing up millions of rands to the non-existent franchise.

    It was also revealed yesterday that the chairman of SA Rugby's board of directors, Mpumelelo Tshume, had been approached by the Golden Lions Rugby Union to run for the deputy president position.

    Tshume is believed to have declined the request.

    Tshume was again unavailable yesterday to confirm or deny this.

    The struggling Stormers were dealt a cruel blow yesterday with the news that star hooker Tiaan Liebenberg had been forced to return home ahead of their clash against the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday because of a muscle strain to his left thigh.

    He will be sidelined for two to three weeks.

    Former SA under-19 hooker Deon Fourie flew to Australia yesterday to provide cover for Liebenberg and will start the game on the bench.

    The only changes to the Stormers starting 15 that suffered a 22-0 defeat against the Crusaders last week are in the loose trio, where Luke Watson moves from No8 to flank, with Robbie Diack taking over at the back of the scrum, and at hooker with Schalk Brits filling the gap left by Liebenberg.

    Flank Pieter Myburgh who replaced Schalk Burger last week moves to the bench.

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    Wells as Macciavellian as the move is, I reckon Stofile's plan of cleaning everyone out of SARU and starting again is the only way, there are so many factions in there that they just need to pick one and start moving in a direction (Which direction isn't so important really)

    As for McKeever's MD claim, this article says that SARU might give him the job to get out of the Spears' compensation issue, I reckon if McKeever gets it, it'll be an indication that the Spears have support and they'll be playing S14 rugby before long!

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