Tank Lanning

Art to asset management

2012-05-31 08:56
Sport24 columnist Tank Lanning (File)
Sounds like a start to pesky finance column does it not? But as you reach for the “Roll away tackler” button on your browser, not wanting to be reminded again by some personal finance freak that you have not put away enough to live your life when the zimmer frame replaces golf clubs, let me tell you that this is indeed a rugby column!

As we ease into our first mid Super Rugby Test series - with a new Bok coach and captain, and as the discussion heats up regarding what the Kings should be, and how they should be accommodated next year, perhaps it is worth taking some time out to touch on the foundation of any sport - the players, or as I like to call them, the assets.

Simply put, professional rugby is about acquiring, nurturing, training, and then either keeping or disposing of said assets. It may sound impersonal and rather callous, but rugby is no longer about roughing and toughing it out on a Sunday afternoon so you can earn the right to have a few beers with the fellow you punched just before half-time … It’s a multi million Rand business that competes for our hard earned disposable entertainment sheckles in a seriously tough financial climate.

And there is still plenty of space for the personal touch in the nurturing, training, and keeping phase of said asset management process. Take a look at what John Dobson has done with the UCT Ikeys and WP Vodacom side … It does not come much more personal than that. And both Peter de Villiers and Heyneke Meyer have well documented strengths on that front.

But the acquisition and disposing of said assets requires the hanky to be put away, and the business heads to be invoked. Acquisition obviously includes scouting schoolboy rugby tournaments in order to get the young talent into the necessary academies and institutes so as to start the nurturing and training phases. But it also involves knowing exactly what assets might be lacking, and thus topping up said stocks with assets either in the market, or more importantly, soon to enter the market.

Enter the player agent … But that is a topic for a different column …

But that does bring me to perhaps the most contentious, and possibly most important, phase of this process - when to dispose of assets?

Obviously this call is not always the union’s to make as players have minds and needs of their own. But even then, there are repercussions and decisions to be made.

Unions work within finite budgets (well in most cases, especially those keen to remain a going concern), so big calls need to be made … Calls sometimes not particularly popular with the fans. Disposing of an expensive player might allow you to sign four talented youngsters. But giving up four youngsters to other unions might allow you the chance to sign a “Bums on seats” proven game changer. Knowing the environment and striking the balance is an art, and takes skill.

How will having a sixth franchise in SA change the available talent pool? Will the Kings use only local talent or try contract from other SA sides? What role should club rugby be playing in talent spotting and nurturing? Should the franchise partner with smaller unions making up said franchise? What would happen if SARU followed New Zealand and implemented central contracting? Do we really want a player demanding a start and business class seats? How much money should be left in the kitty to handle a Stormers like loose forward injury crisis? Do we contract players who can win a Vodacom Cup, but not take the step up to Super Rugby?

Enter the “Director of rugby” or “High Performance Manager”, roles not particularly well defined as yet. A Director of Rugby is superfluous to my mind, and creates reporting confusion. Keep it simple - The head coach runs the show inside the four white lines – nurturing and training, while the High Performance Manager handles all player affairs outside the four white lines - acquisition and disposal.

And if both are skilled at their jobs, have very thick skins, and play a part in the keeping of players, the asset management process becomes an art rather than a guessing game.

Tank is a former Western Province tighthead prop who now heads up Tankman Media, and sprouts forth on all things rugby on the Front Row Grunt

Disclaimer:
Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.
 

Read more on:    super 15  |  tank lanning  |  rugby
NEXT ON SPORT24X

VC fight – A time to learn

2014-04-17 11:30

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
Vote

Do you think the Springboks can possibly win the 2015 Rugby World Cup with 60% black representation?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.