“It is about building character based on the values of Integrity, Passion, Teamwork, Discipline and Respect,” Mensah said.
The following is his argument for Rugby as published on 15 May 2017 in the Sunday Telegraph.
As rugby league reels from their cocaine crisis this week, Waratahs boss Andrew Hore has made a bold stand for struggling rugby union by declaring the 15-man game creates better people.
Hore, who is one year into his job as Waratahs chief executive, said rugby’s pathways to education, travel and network of established people remain huge selling points despite the code floundering in Australia amid poor results and ratings.
Many NSW parents with talented children are often lured to league in junior years because it dominates the media and social cycle, however Hore is convinced rugby remains the better option.
“If you want your kids to be happy, and be good people, there’s a higher probability of achieving that through rugby and the opportunities that come through rugby,” Hore told the Sunday Telegraph.
“You don’t have to be an elite player to gain those opportunities because it is an international sport.
While the NRL is flush with cash from a huge broadcast deal, Super Rugby is struggling amid viewer backlash over its convoluted format, which SANZAAR is attempting to fix with calamitous results.
But Hore said rugby has something inherently more valuable.
“We know we haven’t got the same amount of money as the other sports, but what we do have is a history of growing great people, and giving them opportunity,” Hore said.
“And the other thing rugby’s got is that it’s global.
“The value sets in rugby, the people that are involved in the game, and the expectations of the behaviours of those people in the game make it a great sport to be involved in.”
“A kid could grow up and be a pretty ordinary rugby player, but that young man might also get in with a good peer group, goes to school, gets an education, puts his headshield, mouthguard and boots in a bag, flies over to London, jumps in a lower grade footy club there, meets a guy who works in a bank, and before you know it, earning millions.
“That’s the beauty of this sport.
“Winning the Super comp, no doubt about it, is great. It brings in money, raises the profile of the sport, but at the end of the day the very essence of the sport, from the bush to the beach, is the core beliefs of rugby and the fact that we make great people.”
Instead, he’ll create “hubs” in the community, where various club officials will tell his organisation what they require to grow the game in their regions.
“This has got to be a people-driven solution, it can’t be us sitting in a room saying ‘This is a great idea, we’ll them to go and do this’, it doesn’t work like that,” Hore said.
“When the entity [NSWRU and Waratahs] was split, it’s been amplified by certain sections of the media that Super Rugby is the antithesis of community rugby — it’s actually not.
“The Waratahs is another source of income to feed the community game.
“People don’t want to be told how to drive a team or told how to run rugby in their areas, so our focus is going to be on schools, juniors, and girls.
“We want to create these hubs of rugby that gets the various affiliates together, working on not what’s good for their affiliation, but how are they going to grow rugby.
“The feedback we’ve had is ‘help us grow the volunteers and the coaches, make them better at what they do, then we can make better young people’.”
So while the Waratahs have won just three games from 10 this season and crowds are down, Hore says that will inevitably change and a greater good will be achieved with his long-term strategy.
“If we get better volunteers and coaches supporting good young kids, we feel we can do something far greater than just have a winning Waratahs side, we can create a better society,” he said.
By JAMIE PANDARAM, The Sunday Telegraph