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How to counter (not strike :lol: ) the treat ok Bok poaching



It is all very well the South African Rugby Union banning foreign-based players from Springbok selection, but what happens if someone really irreplaceable gets lured into the French net?

Okay, Victor Matfield is pretty close to irreplaceable, but like John Smit, he probably only has two years left in him.

Schalk Burger, who was so sorely missed last year, is a different story. Let's say he and a couple of other relatively young players with special talent, such as Fourie du Preez, Ruan Pienaar and Pierre Spies, decide to go.

My money says that if this happens Saru are going to find some loophole to make a special case, such as allowing Burger to play a Currie Cup match the week before an important test match to make him eligible.

Which of course is a joke, but the alternative is that we may get to see a sub-standard Springbok team in action. This will be no more palatable to Saru and the sponsors than a Currie Cup or a Super 14 without the star players.

The question Saru need to ask is what they achieve by reinstating this old regulation. How much of a deterrent to young, really talented players who are not yet Springboks will it be?

For if they look back through recent history, they will notice only players who have already played for the Boks have ever been picked out of the foreign leagues: Percy Montgomery, Andre Snyman and Jaco van der Westhuyzen.

Noises have occasionally been made about England based Jake Boer, who has excelled in Europe, but nothing has ever come of it. The young players must know then that South Africans who did not make it in their homeland before they left don't tend to suddenly become Springboks while based in Europe, and this is regardless of whether or not there is a ban on European players in place.

So this latest move will not necessarily deter talented youngsters who have heard the scare stories of what may lie in store for future Springbok selection criteria and who want to get away from the general malaise of mismanagement that holds back the local game.

They know already that such a switch precludes them from Springbok selection, just as Pat Barnard and, before him, Clyde Rathbone did.

As for the current Springboks who might defect, they are a small and elite enough group to warrant special treatment, and Saru are just going to have to find a way to fight market forces by remunerating them properly.

To do this, though, might require some lateral thinking, which most local administrators seem incapable of.

One of the options is the third party contracting one employed by the Australian Rugby Union when Lote Tuqiri was thinking of defecting back to Rugby League. Vodafone and other organisations with a vested interest in rugby union in Australia and New South Wales are now paying a significant portion of Tuqiri's salary, and Matt Giteau moved from Canberra to Perth on a similar deal.

But you can go a lot further. No prizes for guessing that the introduction of a global season forms part of my imaginary new big picture, but so is the way the game is run.

If I was an economics boffin, I would be working on the financial pages, but it strikes me that the only way for our rugby to effectively counter the threat of Europe is to reduce the number of professional players and the number of unions playing professional rugby, and form an elite five-franchise system, with these five franchises competing in the Euro leagues.

In that way we might be able to introduce the European system of management. This entails big businesses taking over the franchises lock, stock and barrel.

Forgive me if this is naive, but there might just be an oil baron somewhere who will be prepared to take over the Stormers, and his foreign money could just keep the best players in Cape Town.


I make a second topic because my first was censured :ranting:

I think that is a good decision :bravo: because you must chose between a pack of money or your nation and people.

PS : For Sir Prestwick the moderator, I think that Belgium should be break and separated B)
Much better. Much much much more better! Tres bien! :)

I'll leave a proper comment when I finish my BBQ. Remember though, something like this (a big opinion post) should be in the forum "Talking Balls" because that is where everyone who wants to vent their spleen about anything rugby posts!

I'll reserve this post for my reply for this later.
Great post Nolife. I can see what you mean when you say that one has to choose between your country and your pocket. But I do have one thing to add.

If the SA players were indeed allowed to play overseas and still be selected for the Boks, as is the current situation, surely this would make them less marketable to the big-spending European clubs? I can`t see some of the richer clubs wanting to pay $$$$$$ for a player that won`t be eligible for a large portions of the season due to international commitments? Especially since the IRB has their international window, and the global season is nothing more than talk right now. And I think that will be a better deterrant for stopping the "poaching".