There has been a lot of speculation surrounding the possible inclusion of the Kings in the Super Rugby competition from 2013 onwards, and how exactly this will happen. I am not interested in getting into a debate about this specific matter, but rather how the players will be treated should this happen.
I have heard the phrase ‘drafting-system’ being thrown about, and this certainly has its merits. What it basically entails, is that an even split of talent is spread amongst the unions, and will make our teams equal in strength. This would also help should a talented player be stuck in a union behind an established player, and he will be guaranteed game time elsewhere.
If we have to look at an example of this happening, for instance the situation at the Stormers over the last few years, where they have had an abundance of talent in the centres, someone like Juan de Jongh, Johann Sadie or Tim Whitehead would have landed at another union, where they would have improved a South African team.
But let us delve into this a bit deeper. Say Tim Whitehead got transferred to the Sharks, would he have gotten any game time, with the continued selection of Stefan Terblanche in our midfield. Would the Sharks even have had an option of getting a centre with Adi Jacobs already on the bench?
At the end of the day, the balance has been somewhat restored, and this all by itself. Whitehead moved to the Sharks, Sadie went to the Bulls and now the Stormers only have two first choice centres. Magic?!
Closer to home, the Sharks have a pool of quality loose forwards matched only by the Stormers (in certain blogger’s mind anyway), but does this mean any of our players would walk into another South African team? If we had to give up a loose forward, which would be the unlucky player to go? I wouldn’t want to see any of Alberts, Deysel, Mthembu, Daniel, Coetzee running out for another union, especially not on a permanent basis.
This leads me to my next point, which is the use of loan players. Some of the unions do have too many players in a certain position, yet are battling for decent depth in another. Surely working together for the greater good of South African rugby is something our unions can do.
All these theories sound awfully good, but we have to remember that shifting, selling and loaning players come down to one simple thing that unions have very little control over, and that is the player himself. Surely for a player to up and leave Durban to go to Bloemfontein and play for a season, even if it is an almost guaranteed amount of first team rugby, is a big decision, especially if this player is settled with a family, or has been with a union all his life. The human factor in this professional era is often forgotten, and this is something that is rather sad.
What exactly the answer is, I cannot say, but these things will have to be given some thought if SARU are to follow through with their plans.Tweet