The Lions have done it again, folks, in offering a South African record contract to an over-the-hill former great. An obsession with experience would appear to have blinded the Lions’ management to the fact that Carlos Spencer simply isn’t worth a record contract these days.
Looking back over the career of this enigmatic pivot, one can’t dispute that his finest years are very much behind him. Spencer last played for the All Blacks in 2004 and even then, was only their first choice pivot for two seasons, which included a disastrous showing in the 2003 World Cup semi-final. Like so many other New Zealand flyhalves of the late 90′s and early 2000′s, Spencer just wasn’t in the same league as the great Andrew Mehrtens and was always considered far too inconsistent to be a real great in the number 10 jersey.
He has spent five years milling around the Northern Hemisphere retirement circuit – at first enjoying some success with Northampton (who despite his presence were relegated) and alter moving on to Gloucester. He has struggled to make the first team for either club in the last two seasons, yet is suddenly worth more than any player currently in South Africa. Ludicrous, if you ask me.
Let’s compare Spencer to Juan Martin Hernandez, a current international pivot in a top-4 team who came to us from Stade Francais, where he was the acknowledged match-winner in that side. Even he has struggled to assert himself on the South African game – and yet he is worth less than Spencer, who last played serious rugby in 2005?
Once again, I’m tempted to ask for a little of what the Lions brains trust is smoking, because it seems like pretty good stuff!Tweet