Full name Oregan Hoskins
Born date unknown
Oregan Hoskins is the current president of the South African Rugby Union (SARU), whose tenure has been marked by numerous controversies.
Hoskins was elected to the most powerful position in South African rugby in 2006, after receiving the backing of the Blue Bulls, Western Province, the Natal Sharks, the Golden Lions and the Free State Cheetahs.
Hoskins wasted little time in making his presence felt, telling representatives from the New Zealand and Australian rugby unions during a SANZAR meeting in August 2006 that there was a "genuine basis" amongst referees towards South African teams.
The following year he generate huge controversy by publicly and flagrantly undermining the the authority of the then Springbok head coach Jake White. White had named a 45-strong for the 2007 World Cup which did not include Luke Watson, who was widely regarded as one of the best forwards in South African rugby but also a hugely divisive figure on account of his outspoken nature and his father's involvement in the anti-apartheid movement.
Hoskins, with the support of fellow SARU executive council member Koos Basson, and Springbok team manager Zola Yeye subsequently decided to add Watson to the panel - without White's knowledge.
Hoskins commented rather menacingly at the time: "If the leadership is not happy with the coach's selections, then we must change the coach. If the administration is not happy with the situation, then it must have the coach that it prefers. The Luke Watson issue has been discussed by leadership on a number of occasions. We indicated our concern at the relationship between the two of them, and felt it was unhealthy. It is not good for the sport when there is a spat between the player and the coach."
White considered legal action against the SARU but ultimately accepted Watson into the fold but the player ultimately played no part in the World Cup campaign.
Unsurprisingly, Hoskins' relationship with White drew much media attention throughout the tournament and it was noted that the SARU president did not join the team on the field after their victory over England in the final. Hoskins also skipped the team's official homecoming party. It seemed as if the two could no longer work together and it came as no surprise when White parted company with the Springboks in acrimonious circumstances just days after leading the side to World Cup glory.
White had claimed that under the terms of his contract he had not been required to reapply for his position even though his contract had been set to expire at the end of the year. However, he claims he was set a deadline of October 19 to officially declare his interest in continuing on in the position, something White found ludicrous given that the Springboks were due to play England in the World Cup final the following day.
"I did ask for time to consider my options as I was mindful of making a wrong decision based on emotion. This time was not afforded me and that is particularly disappointing," he said.
Hoskins, though, was furious with White for portraying himself as a victim.
"Jake was seen as someone who was never prepared to give the whole story and relied on public sentiment after the World Cup to support his cause as a martyr," Hoskins said. "The unfortunate thing is that Jake is now portrayed as the victim and the council as a bunch of idiots who just did not like him after we won the World Cup. But that's just not fair and it's not the whole story as there are a lot of people in SA Rugby who stood by Jake and supported him during some of his darkest moments in the job."
Hoskins' task now, though, was to find a worthy successor to White. Heyneke Meyer, who had led the Bulls to the Super Rugby title, was the favourite to fill the vacancy but Hopkins instead opted for Peter de Villiers, a black coach who had enjoyed success with the Emerging Springboks and the South Africa Under-21s. Hoskins admitted that the colour of de Villiers' skin had played a part in the decision.
"I want to be honest with South Africa and say that the appointment was not entirely made for rugby reasons. We as an organisation have made the appointment and taken into account the issue of transformation very, very seriously when we made it. I don't think that tarnishes Peter - I'm just being honest with our country."
De Villiers led the Springboks to a series win over the British & Irish Lions and a Tri-Nations series success in 2009 but he repeatedly courted controversy in his press appearances. He then came under intense pressure to resign as South Africa head coach after a disastrous 2010 Tri-Nations campaign which saw the Boks triumph just once. However, after an end-of-tournament review, de Villiers retained the support of Hoskins and the SARU, meaning he will lead the Springboks into the 2011 World Cup.
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