Conceding decline, South African rugby begins soul searching

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) South African rugby has opened a two-day meeting of top coaches and officials by conceding the performance of the national team, a two-time world champion, is in sharp decline and the overall running of the game is flawed.

The conference in Cape Town, hosted by national coach Allister Coetzee, had already been planned but was given greater urgency after a woeful season by Coetzee's Springboks saw them slump to three historic defeats.

SA Rugby acting president Mark Alexander opened by saying the system wasn't working. Alexander said there was an urgent need to ''plot a new direction.''

The meeting brings together executives and coaches of all of South Africa's major domestic teams, as well as former Springboks coaches and captains.