Contract process flawed
Sport24 columnist Tank Lanning (File)
Well, it took them long enough, but SARU did eventually get round to announcing the players who have been awarded Springbok contracts for 2013, and there are only 15 of them.
Imagine having to wait until April 24 to find out if you were actually going to be paid in 2013! Would you have kept coming in from 9-till-5 every day, just trusting your employees to come up with a fair package for you?
Sure I am being simplistic and more than a little facetious, but I am sure this has had an impact on the recent player drain. Yet I am also fairly sure that there has been some pretty industrial negotiating going on between the players, SARPA, the agents, and SARU.
The end result being that Andries Bekker, Juandré Kruger, Morné Steyn, Bryan Habana, JP Pietersen and Zane Kirchner have decided that what was on offer from SARU was not enough, while the 15 who accepted contracts have decided that the cash on offer will indeed be enough to keep them from eating out of tin cans.
And bull dust that these 6 players were “snubbed”... They saw what was on the table and chose to eat from another buffet. And damn straight that those gorging from this Euro, Pound and Yen buffet should not also be snacking from the Rand soup kitchen!
What said soup kitchen does offer, though, is this magnificent Green and Gold beast called the Springbok jersey, and we need to use what available Rands we have to keep those wanting to ply their trade here in South Africa as happy as we possibly can.
I would go one step further and make the Green and Gold available to only those in the soup kitchen, because those willing to eat soup instead of caviar in order to wear the green and Gold are going to be the ones who will dig deep for said colours when it is really needed.
That said, I do not begrudge players with finite times in wish to cash in on God given talent making the call to play overseas, I just think we should focus on those wanting to stay, and those coming out of the incredible talent machine we are so lucky to have here in SA. Lemons and lemonade and all that...
So with that in mind, a possible team from the contracted players:
15. Frans Steyn (Sharks, 53)
13. Juan de Jongh (Western Province, 14)
12. Jean de Villiers (Western Province, 84)
10. Pat Lambie (Sharks, 20)
9. Francois Hougaard (Blue Bulls, 27)
8. Pierre Spies (Blue Bulls, 50)
7. Duane Vermeulen (Western Province, 7)
7. Willem Alberts (Sharks, 20 caps)
6. Marcell Coetzee (Sharks, 12)
5. Flip van der Merwe (Blue Bulls, 23)
4. Eben Etzebeth (Western Province, 11)
3. Jannie du Plessis (Sharks, 42)
2. Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks, 46)
2. Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs, 21)
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks, 41)
Not too shabby hey Nige? But pretty damn difficult to play with 2 hookers, 4 loose forwards and no wings, though! And that is the issue with only contracting a small group of players. Is the coach now obliged (even if only on a subliminal level) to select these players? Steyn and Spies are dreadfully out of form, but SARU will surely now want to get their pound of flesh from these guys...
Central contracting, as is the case in New Zealand, is the only way to get around this, and I really hope Jurie Roux and SARU are investigating this as an option.
Speaking of the Kiwis, and as a parting shot given that they do not select players who chose to play overseas … Do they dominate world rugby with their “B” side?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 …
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