Ex-Bok: SA unions have too many contracted players

    2018-08-03 13:07

    Cape Town - Former Springbok fullback Thinus Delport says South African rugby unions are contracting too many players.

    The 43-year-old, who played 18 Tests for the Boks between 2000 and 2003, spoke exclusively to Sport24 this week.

    One of the topics discussed was the amount of South African players plying their trade abroad.

    Delport said this was a massive issue for South African rugby but highlighted another concern:

    “The exodus is worrying, but the number of contracted players at South African unions is bloated and unsustainable. Why are we not developing more prospects rather than having a blanket approach in terms of signing players in South Africa?” Delport questioned.

    “If you look at the squad sizes of English Premiership clubs, it’s around 40 and that includes the academy players. In the UK, the focus is much more on smaller academies and being really astute in terms of who they contract. Succession planning and player development is much more specific, so you have to be clearer in terms of who you sign up as an academy player.”

    Delport added that it was an area SA Rugby should pay attention to.

    “The budgets South African teams are spending on players and the high number of personnel they are contracting surely has to be readdressed. The solution would be to focus on specific players they want to retain and not just sign up a whole bunch from Craven Week.”

    During his playing days, Deport represented the Lions and Sharks in South Africa. He moved to England in 2002 and played for Gloucester (2002-2004) and Worcester Warriors (2004-2008). He finished his professional playing career at Japanese club Kobelco Steelers between 2008 and 2010.

    He is currently based in the UK and often appears as a television rugby pundit.

    READ: Thinus Delport’s full Q&A interview with Sport24

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