SARU must follow NZ example

2011-09-14 12:03

Cape Town - Free State Cheetahs coach, Naka Drotské says that his team, along with teams from smaller unions may find themselves in dire straights in the next few years if the contracting system in South African rugby doesn’t change soon.

Drotské stated that player values are increasing by approximately 15% every season and it is causing the smaller unions a problem if they are to hold onto their most prized assets.

Wednesday’s Die Burger reports that the Free Staters themselves had to trim their list of contracted players down to 33 to that of 55 from last season just to hold onto players such as star flank Heinrich Brüssouw, prop, Coenie Oosthuizen, flyhalf Johan Goosen, brothers Sias and Robert Ebersohn along with other youngsters, Pieter Labuschagné and Johan Wessels.

As an alternative, Drotské is putting his support behind the notion that the South African Rugby Union (SARU) should adopt a system similar to that of their New Zealand counterparts.

“In the interest of South African rugby, I believe that SARU should follow the example set by New Zealand and adopt a central contractual system. I don’t think the current situation is healthy for Springbok rugby,” Drotské told Die Burger.

“How can it be healthy for a player to be contracted to a union and basically be their third-choice player, whereas that same player would make the starting XV of another union? It simply cannot work that way. I know that Saru are considering a central contractual system, but there are unions who are against it,” he added.

Die Burger further suggests that if SARU do adopt the approach to contract the country’s top 100 players it will stop players such as Juan Smith, Ashley Johnson and Adrian Strauss from seeking greener pastures in an effort to earn market-related salaries.

“We know that the most important element for success is the consistency in your team selection and stability within your squad. That is why it is important for us to keep all of them here.”


  • GHT - 2011-09-14 12:33

    So basically. SARU will decide where a player has to live? And so much for depth at certain unions. What would province have done in their current flyhalf crisis if not for all of their youngsters? Free State are just moaning because they have the worst Financial Managers and strategic decision makers. Free State won the CC and competed in numerous finals in mid 200x and all of that prize money is where exactly? Either my 1st assumption is correct or somebody has some long fingers at that union. What would work is a sharing basis between the big unions and the smaller unions. Like Boland and WP. Boland could use some of the WP players that can't find a place in the senior or junior teams. SARU should rather find a way to enforce loans like that. Dollie would have had more than enough game time this season if he played for Boland in the 1st devition. But then the small unions would moan because that would effectively make them the bitches of the bigger guys.

      GHT - 2011-09-14 13:08

      Well. A system like that wouldn't exactly be beneficial for numerous reasons. 1stly. Currie Cup is playing 2nd fiddle to Super Rugby. There will only be 6 teams in the CC from next year. The big 5 and a toss up between Eastern Cape and Griquas. So how can you justify sending a star player to play to Boland playing 2nd rate rugby? Will not work. You can't really say that he will still be part of the Stormers, because players from different unions don't gel together. It doesn't work. I know Griquas and FS work together, but they don't really have anything to show for their efforts now do they? So that means players will be shared between the 6 super teams (assuming kings gets a spot) and then the small guys like Boland and Valke are still in a pretty crap position. Nothing would have changed.

      ae.remote - 2011-09-14 13:47

      Yes, but despite this, we were reduced to bringing Schalk Brtis as reserve flanker for the semi! The S15 is all about staying power and having cover when players go down. No good having an international back row if the back up is crap. At some point you will have to rotate players. Why should our team (or any other team) have their chances of winning the competition hindered because we must 'share' their players with Free State or Kings et al...

      GHT - 2011-09-14 14:03

      Darryl. You are simply changing facts (time lines and player positions) so that it fits your argument. Venter left in 2008 after he was already in his twilight years (thats why he couldn't get a contract with the Sharks and was used as a lock where WP needed him. Lobberts IS also a lock. Now we are down to 7. In 2008 Koster was 1 year out of school at only 19 and still developing. Same applies to Francois Louw, Myburgh and Pieter Louw in 2009 they were still developing! But still, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say Koster counts and all the other players were magically developed players at that stage so that leaves us at 7. It doesn't change the fact that Duane Vermeulen was still with the Cheetahs in 2008. So now we are at 6 for WP and 6 for FS. Now isn't that a coincidence? Seems like we were in the same boat after all. You have a useless argument and you are off topic. With this monstrous Super season teams need to get depth in their squad. FS isn't a small union. FS is a BIG union with internal problems that can't work with money. The bad guy here is Super Rugby. Because Super rugby is the thing thats killing the small unions. I am a fan of the small guys like Boland but FS isn't a small union! So you don't deserve any sympathy!

      GHT - 2011-09-14 14:13

      Kolisi was injured during a mugging. So what if there are Saffas playing good overseas? A system like that won't help SARU to keep the players here because they earn way more than what we can pay them. If anything, that would push the players to leave as they would stand a better chance of winning trophies with a strong squad than with a weak squad with no depth. They would also be able to choose where they want to live.

      Fred - 2011-09-14 14:23

      Soccer uses a loan system, why not do the same, loan a player out instead of having him warm the bench each week.

      Dan the Man - 2011-09-14 16:33

      The whole point of a centrally contracted system is that if a team is short, and a good player is not getting game time and wants to play, then he goes on loan to that team. You dont have negotiate fees or anything, because the unions dont directly pay the wages. So all it takes is the union and the player agreeing to the loan to the needy team. I should also point out that its going to be the only way to compete with an increasingly rich french league as well as rich clubs like leicester, saracens, leinster, etc. The idea is to keep out best players in SA by paying them as competitively as we can, while also ensuring they get as much game time as possible. Look at how NZ have used it to keep Nonu and SB despite far more lucrative deals for them overseas

  • ae.remote - 2011-09-14 12:35

    maybe if people in the FS went to watch their team then the union would have more money to spend on players. couldn't even sell out when the Boks played there last. That said, I thought the players were contracted to SARU, hence the franchise system in the S15?

      Callie - 2011-09-14 19:42

      FS is sparsely populated, only one JSE listed company but still contribute largely to SA rugby interms of players for National sides. Naka is correct, if NZ system is implemented FS will keep it's talent.

  • Uzziel - 2011-09-14 12:41

    Well, instead of giving the power to SARU, why do we not have a draft every year like the NFL in the USA?

      ae.remote - 2011-09-14 12:46

      good idea. it really works there but then you'd also have to have a set salary scale. Very unfair for the best young talent at Varsity to get picked by the worst team who could then only pay 1/5th of what he'd get from one of the big unions. In the USA, all the clubs are rich, albeit some more than others.

      GHT - 2011-09-14 12:58

      I'm not exactly a big fan of the draft. I know this is the professional era, but there are players that really don't want to play for any other union than the union they grew up in, even if they are 3rd string behind a couple of boks. Do you really think de Jongh would have risen to the level he is now in such a short time if he didn't learn from JDV and Fourie? Same goes for Flip learning from Bakkies and Matfield.

      ae.remote - 2011-09-14 13:04

      GHT, they're all loyal until some big Euro or Pound denominated paycheck gets waved in front of them... It's great to see home grown players but not having seen any trophy of significance being held by someone in a blue & white shirt for years, I couldn't care less where that someone comes from..

      ae.remote - 2011-09-14 13:09

      Sorry, pay "cheque".. I am not American, despite liking their sports!!

      my_story - 2011-09-14 13:33

      players build relationships over time that add value to the game. by breaking relationships every year the game will be weakened. My question to Naka is how did the wealthier pronvinces start to pull away from the less wealthy? eg. wp/stormers haven't won anything for a long time, yet they still regularly fill the stadiums and sell 20 000 seasons tickets a year.

      GHT - 2011-09-14 13:36

      @my_story. Agree. How many games have Bakkies and Matfield played together at the Bulls? You can see how that rubbed of on the Boks. They played 60 odd tests together. That would not have been the case had 1 of them moved to Province or the sharks

      ae.remote - 2011-09-14 13:50

      didn't one of them do his very best to move to France a couple of years back???

      GHT - 2011-09-14 14:06

      @ae.remote. Yes 1 of them did and that didn't exactly work out now did it? I'm not comparing bit euro money with Rands. That's an argument on it's own as even with a draft system, how would you compete against the Euro money? That would only make it worse, because at least then a player can choose where he wants to go.

      ae.remote - 2011-09-14 14:18

      If i recall correctly it didn't work because the Bulls took him to court, not because Bakkies went all soft. My point was that as much as these players crow about 'this great union' and 'these great fans' etc etc, they'll all jump for a better purse if given the chance. Not that I blame them, but just cant stand the hypocrisy of someone like Bakkies getting all emotional at Loftus when he was desperate to get out of there only a couple of years ago.

      GHT - 2011-09-14 14:33

      @ae.remote. I completely forgot about the Bakkies saga. I was talking about Matfield that had that HORRIBLE 6 months in France.

      ae.remote - 2011-09-14 14:50

      OK, I must have been pissed for those six months, can't even remember Matfield going to France!

  • shrubber - 2011-09-14 13:14

    "dire straights"? Really? And you get paid to be a journalist? Really? Unless, of course, there's some obscure pun lurking somewhere.... please enlighten me!

  • Grunk - 2011-09-14 13:14

    Professional sportsmen go where the money is (why else do we have so many overseas). Therefore to say that a player may not want to go to a particular centre doesn't hold water. Therefore to keep themselves finacially viablethe smaller unions must be assisted to retain at least some of their talent - and the one province/team we must surely persist in helping out is Free State and its wealth of natural talent always emerging. This Goosen is something else to watch - a grreat in the making.

  • Zooma Lema - 2011-09-14 13:18

    Sterkte Naka, ek weet hoe jy voel om die beste van die beste elke jaar af te staan.

  • roboman1 - 2011-09-14 13:32

    I agree with the sentiments of Naka, in the interests of SA rugby we need to find a better system. Free State are constantly raided by the those dirty little Sharks people. SARU should pay the top 25 players in each union, and the balance can be funded by each union themselves, that way their would be less movement of the top players

      booboo - 2011-09-14 13:51

      Also consider this, FS is one of the few unions that develops running backs only for them to be bought up by the Blue Bulls and stuffed up beyond recognition for all time by playing intercept or chip and charge rugby!

  • Dawie - 2011-09-14 15:01

    Im a huge Shark supporter but tend to agree with Naka on this.............Us sharks are playing with a lot of free state players and so is all of the bigger unions.I believe if these financially smaller unions re allowed 3 years with their top players they will be able to get sponsors to ensure their players stay and will grow financially to the point where they can afford to keep thes players. I was very unhappy when the shaks brought michalak back to play for them........if we planned better 2 years ago and started looking for players on club level we would have been able to develop a flyhalf into super rugby, currie cup and even springbok quality. It is sad that good talent is leaving the country because of lack of oppertunity to get game time on the right level. But then again, rugby like churches and schools have become a business and its all about the bottom line at the end of the year.

  • visarend - 2011-09-14 19:42

    Thanks Naka for highlighting this problem . It is indeed a real problem that screams for attention. The problem is a balancing act between : a) player interest - the lifespan of a rugby player is very short , and one must afford the individual maximum compensation , as this is the only income he has . b) union , or franchise interest - affordability . c) player development - if holes , or weakenesses are always simply plucked by importing other players , when are the young talents be given the opportunity to step forward and learn on a higher level ? The sad thing about SA rugby , is that we have always been the leaders . These days , we are constantly looking to NZ , and Aus for innovations and new ideas . We copy them in almost everything . I think it's not because we don't have the talent , simply a matter of the right people not getting involved . Having said that , I realize that these "right" people , just don't want to waste their time in administrations where real rugby issues are not at top of agenda , but much much further down .

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