South African rugby takes first steps on road to change

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 16, 2016 file photo, South Africa coach Allister Coetzee waits for the start of the international rugby union test match against Italy, in Florence, Italy. South African rugby has taken the first few steps on a "hard" road to change, with its decision-making general council voting to reduce some of its own powers. Among the changes approved on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016 by SA Rugby's general council _ made up of representatives from each of the 14 provincial unions _ was giving up the power to appoint the national team coach. (AP Photo/Andrea Staccioli, File)
Andrea Staccioli/AP

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) South African rugby has taken the first few steps on a ''hard'' road to change, with its decision-making general council voting to reduce some of its own powers.

Among the changes approved on Friday by SA Rugby's general council – made up of representatives from each of the 14 provincial unions – was giving up the power to appoint the national team coach.

Changes to South African rugby's outdated model were accelerated by the dire performance of the Springboks this year, with the two-time world champions losing eight out of 12 tests, including four in a row to end the season.

SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux said members of the general council had to make some ''fairly hard decisions'' and ''turkeys actually did vote for Christmas.''