Rassie brings IPL to rugby
Rudolph Lake - Rapport
Johannesburg – The involvement of former Springbok flank Rassie Erasmus in the new International Super Rugby (ISR) competition will not affect his job as director of coaching at the Western Province Rugby Union.
Capetonians can therefore rest assured that Erasmus will still put the interests of the Stormers and WP first and foremost and will still strive to make these two teams the most successful in the country.
Erasmus, his namesake Frikkie Erasmus, a Cape Town lawyer businessman, and two very well-known names in South African rugby are in the process of founding a new international competition in South Africa – something that will change the look of SA rugby dramatically.
The new competition will begin in January 2012 and is based on the Indian Premier League cricket series with shorter matches lasting only half as long as a normal game, and adjustments to rules to make the game faster.
More than 200 of the world's finest rugby players will fight it out at the city's brand new World Cup Soccer stadiums in Cape Town and Durban, playing in a series in which eight teams with a lot of international flavour will compete for about three weeks for handsome prize money.
Springboks like John Smit, Victor Matfield, Bryan Habana, Schalk Burger, Jean de Villiers, Juan Smith, Jaque Fourie, Heinrich Brüssow and Bismarck du Plessis, All Blacks stars like Richie McCaw and Daniel Carter and the Aussies Phil Waugh and James O’Connor, as well as several other top players from England, France and Argentina will be part of the new competition.
Erasmus has already discussed his future, and ISR plans, with the WP rugby bosses and they are satisfied that he will stay on as the Cape Town director of rugby.
The planned ISR competition will however force the country's provincial unions to review their current players' contracts. South Africa, New Zealand and Australia's Super Rugby franchises may also have to think about their preparations for this annual competition between teams of the Southern Hemisphere.
Super rugby teams usually start training early in January but in 2012, coaches may have to wait until February before they can begin preparing as players may be involved with the new competition.
All the international players who have been earmarked to play in the first ISR competition, have contracts with their national bodies and relevant provincial unions and teams that expire at the end of 2011.
According to Sport24's information, they will only sign new contracts with their countries and any provincial unions or teams if they are allowed to take part annually in the ISR competition from 2012.
But the new competition Could also be of great benefit for the South African Rugby Union as local players will be able to earn extra money in the series and therefore not have to leave the country for better pay overseas.
The expectation is that top players will earn millions – more than their current annual salaries – in the ISR series and will have no reason to seek greener pastures outside of South Africa.