South Africa’s leading players stand united in their objection to the absurd decision to withdraw all the contracted Springboks from the Currie Cup.
In a statement issued on Wednesday the South African Rugby Players Association called on the South African Rugby Union – and the provinces – to reconsider the laughable decision announced on Tuesday.
SARU announced on Tuesday that all the contracted Springboks will undertake a “conditioning programme” for the next four weeks and will be withdrawn from the Currie Cup until October 6.
However, the players – through their union – made it abundantly clear that they do not agree with the decision – made after a teleconference between the top provincial unions this week.
SARPA also expressed their unhappiness and dismay over the decision, the lack of scientific insight into such a move and the fact that no players were consulted before the decision was made.
This came after a specific undertaking to players was not honoured, which could have dramatic and long-term effects for the national team and the World Cup campaign in particular.
SARPA, said in the statement, that they are also questioning whether this decision is really in the best interests of Springbok and South African rugby or rather a political decision with a provincial undertone?
rugby365.com has reliably learnt that the proverbial pawpaw hit the fan when the Free State Cheetahs objected to the inclusion of Springboks like Bakkies Botha and Wynand Olivier in the Blue Bulls team. These two teams, last year’s finalists, meet in a crunch match in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Once the call was made to withdraw ‘all contracted Boks’, only then did the Cheetahs realise they would be losing two key players in Juan Smith and CJ van der Linde – with the latter having already been named in the Cheetahs starting XV.
The fall-out over Tuesday’s decision also saw the Sharks and Western Province up in arms – with players like Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira, JP Pietersen, AD Jacobs (all Sharks) and Ricky Januarie (WP) in desperate need of game time.
It is thus not surprising then that the players turned to their union.
“No Springbok player or SARPA were consulted or asked for input regarding this decision,” SARPA Chief Executive Piet Heymans said.
“We have received complaints from our members, who are unhappy because they were told at the beginning of the year their conditioning and rest programmes would be monitored on an individual basis.
“They were promised that those needing rest would be afforded such time and those needing game time would be given the opportunity. This has not happened and the opposite could now be true.”
This would mean that a number of players who need game time would be forced to rest while others, who the Springbok management have identified to rest, could be forced by their provinces to play against their will.
“With the current GPS technology that the Springboks have been using, individual resting and conditioning is possible and would have produced the best results for everyone from the individual players, the team, the country and SARU in its goal to retain the William Webb Ellis trophy in New Zealand next year” Heymans added.
“To have a number of top Springboks who are either returning from injury or suspension to be banned from finding their form again on the rugby field is certainly not in the best interests of South African rugby as a whole.
“We are calling on SARU and the provinces to honour the undertaking made to the players and use scientific data and research, rather than emotion to ensure the Springbok players are all on the best individual conditioning, rest and playing programmes that will benefit the national team leading up to the Rugby World Cup next year,” Heymans concluded.
This article was written by Jan de Koning and is courtesy of rugby365.comTweet