Rassie Erasmus says SA Rugby has to ensure that the best players in South Africa are evenly distributed across the respective franchises. JON CARDINELLI reports.
SA Rugby revealed its new contracting model at a press conference in Cape Town on Thursday. Erasmus, the director of rugby as well the national coach, hopes that the changes will see the franchises and the Boks improving to the extent where they can seriously compete for silverware.
Erasmus confirmed that 60 players of national interest will be contracted ahead of the 2020 season. The old system that saw 13 to 20 Bok players contracted, will be discarded as SA Rugby looks to strengthen the player base and keep more talent in the country.
One of the issues that Erasmus and company will tackle is the distribution of talent across the respective franchises. As things stand, SA Rugby has a situation where some teams are stacked with Bok players in certain positions and others want for experience and quality in that particular department.
That may change, though, in the years to come.
‘This new system will take a while to implement, and I’m sure we will have a few teething problems,’ Erasmus said. ‘Hopefully we will start to see the benefits of the new model by the middle of next year.
‘We have to look at our succession planning at each franchise,’ he continued. ‘For example, it doesn’t make sense that one team has three Bok tightheads and another has none.
‘We want to create a strong pool of players and ensure that they all receive enough game time over the course of the season.’
The Stormers are well stocked with Test tightheads, as Boks such as Frans Malherbe and Wilco Louw are on their books. Carlu Sadie was loaned to the Lions this season, and certainly made his chance count to start regularly in Vodacom Super Rugby.
The Vodacom Bulls have two Bok scrumhalves in Ivan van Zyl and Embrose Papier. The two youngsters have shared the workload this season, starting six games each. It may benefit both players – as well as the Boks – if one shifts to a competing franchise and gets more game time as a result.
All that said, it remains to be seen exactly how many Bok players will leave South Africa at the end of this season, and how many will remain as part of the contracted group.
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