Spies calls for sabbaticals
Cape Town - Bulls captain Pierre Spies
says South African rugby should consider the option of giving top players periods of rest in order to prolong their careers.
South African Super Rugby teams are struggling with large injury tolls in this year's Super Rugby competition, which will see teams play 16 league games before the playoffs.
The Bulls on Wednesday picked the same starting XV for the first time in eight weeks, while the Stormers and Sharks are also severely depleted in key positions.GALLERY: Bulls in training
All Black captain Richie McCaw is currently on a six month sabbatical
to prolong his career. The 32-year-old will start playing for his local club in Christchurch in June, before returning to the Test arena in August.
However, the Kiwis are on central contracts which allows their national body to decide how to manage players, unlike in South Africa where the unions have greater power.
And Spies feels following New Zealand's example may be the way forward for South Africa. The Bulls skipper has remained injury free this year, but feels his seven-month injury layoff last year did him the world of good. He injured his ring finger in July and only resumed playing in February.
"An injury can strike at any time. But from a physical aspect that rest period was very good for me," Spies told the Beeld website
"I think it's something that should be looked at - to let a player take a few months off after a few years of rugby in order to fully recover and regain his focus."
The Bulls face the Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday (19:10 kick-off).Teams:
15 George Whitehead, 14 Ronnie Cooke, 13 Waylon Murray
, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Sergeal Petersen
, 10 Demetri Catrakilis
, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Luke Watson
(captain), 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku
, 1 Schalk Ferreira
Substitutes: 16 Hannes Franklin, 17 Grant Kemp, 18 Rynier Barnardo, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Marcello Sampson, 22 Siviwe SoyizwapiBulls:
15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht
, 12 Jan Serfontein
, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak
, 8 Pierre Spies
(captain), 7 Dewald Potgieter
, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandre Kruger
, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle
, 1 Morne Mellett
Substitutes: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Werner Kruger
, 18 Paul Willemse, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Bjorn BassonHAVE YOUR SAY:
Do you think South Africa should follow New Zealand's example by allowing some of our top players to take a playing sabbatical? Send your thoughts to Sport24