FOR a change, Border rugby is making headlines for the right reasons. Seems that the previously ailing union has turned the tide and is moving in the right direction.
With Phumlani Mkolo winning a second stint as president, drastic changes have been made both administratively and on the playing front.
The redeployment of administrator Monde Tabata by the South African Rugby Union to oversee the day-to-day running of the union has helped to ease pressure on the executive.
For the first time, the union has received a disclaimer from independent auditors and a letter of good standing from the South African Revenue Services (SARS).
Border Rugby and SARS reached an agreement over monies owed, an amount which has since been settled and a tax clearance certificate issued. This will have a positive bearing on the union with regard to big business wanting to invest. Players who have contracts or junior contracts with the Bulldogs and the union staff, are being paid on time.
On the field of play, the Bulldogs have qualified for the Currie Cup First Division semifinals with one game remaining in the round robin. They are second on the log with three wins from four outings.
The Border women’s team is top of their log and is playing against Western Province in the women’s inter-provincial final tomorrow at the Buffalo City Stadium.
Both Old Selbornians and East London Police have qualified for the Gold Cup, with Border having strong representation in the premier club competition in the country. Police have, for the first time, also won the Super 12 last year, which was dominated by the Eastern Province clubs.
Walter Sisulu University has qualified for the Varsity Shield. Together with the University of Fort Hare, Border now has two universities in the Shield and that should bolster squad development for both universities and the Border Bulldogs.
Dale College, Queen’s College and Hudson Park are doing well in the schools’ competition.
There are still challenges with regard to fixtures and the payment of grants. There are too many off-weekends between fixtures, but taking everything into consideration, there is hope that the union is showing a marked improvement.