Too much rugby? Or is it a simple matter of Unions not using their resources wisely?
Almost every year South African Rugby adds more games to the itinerary, and every year we hear people complain about how the top players in SA are over worked and burnt out. A few days later you will hear someone else say that South Africa has a great pool of players and there are hundreds of talented players waiting to be given a chance. So why don’t we? Why aren’t we placing youngsters in already strong setups and giving them a chance to grow, while keeping your older experienced players to pass on valuable knowledge and leadership? Instead of getting rid of our burnt out players for the latest sensation, why aren’t we seeing more “Albert van der Berg” scenarios? The Sharks have added years onto Albert’s career by turning him into an impact player. Similarly we could be extending other top players careers by letting them come off the bench giving them sufficient rest time all the while ensuring that when the team is down they can be called upon to win the game. This means you have valuable experience guiding more youngsters within the team setup, instead of having the youngsters playing inferior competitions and then throwing them in the deep end when an injury arises.
During the Super 14 the Shark’s poor player management was the main contributor in their wasting a great chance at getting the Super 14 trophy. The Sharks were quick to blame it on the injury crisis, but compare this to the Bulls, Crusaders and Chiefs that also had big injuries this season, the excuse is lame. The Sharks simply didn’t give their backup the game time needed to be able to step in with the least disruption. The Sharks need to look at their academy and feeder teams and start bringing promising players into the mix, before these youngsters get dis-illusioned and head off to greener pastures.
This new proposed Super 15 could just be the kick start SA Rugby and Sharks need to start using our player resources wisely. The Currie Cup can still be played, but it should have the up and coming players taking part. The Currie Cup could be the perfect breeding ground for future stars. With the top players out it will handicap the top five Unions enough that the lesser Unions get much needed victories to bring spectators to their stadiums and funds into their coffers. Sharks can get to use older players that can guide and prepare the youngsters for Super Rugby. The Vodacom Cup could then be turned into an under 21 competition to expose youngsters to top class rugby and give Unions a chance to see who is ready for the Currie Cup and Super Rugby. The overall positive effect can only strengthen rugby in South Africa as well as the Boks, hopefully doubling the Bok player pool from 125 to 250.
Let’s hope the Sharks have learnt from their poor judgement and do what the Bulls did this year…Chumps to Champs in 365 days. We have the experienced players to guide, lets find the stars that will fill and strengthen the squad. The Currie Cup this year is the perfect platform for the Sharks to fine tune young players and create a squad that will finally win that elusive Super trophy.Tweet