Did the Bulle win the blerrie Lotto…?

Written by Iza Loubser (Ice)

Posted in :Bulls, Currie Cup, Lions, Original Content, Other SA Teams, School Rugby, Sharks on 18 Jul 2012 at 12:00
Tagged with : , , ,

On one of my recent Twitter rants (@Ice457), I made a snotty comment about the Bulls purchasing all the schoolboy talent and something to the effect that they want to eliminate opposition competition. I was subsequently invited by to write an article on “Bulls Bargain Buys”. I would obviously like to share this with our own readers as well!

Did the Bulle win the blerrie Lotto…? Did they get a chequebook verniet, for free?

Now you all know, I am the first to say: “Welcome to the professional era of rugby” when it comes to the signing of new talent. Especially with the majority screaming (or is it moaning?) “The Sharks don’t consist of home grown talent.” or “The Sharks are the Cheetahs’ second team” or…or…

And yes….you get it on forums all over. And sadly so, a lot of them are Bulls fans who are the first to throw the “accusation”…. But wait a minute….it seems they have finally caught onto this professional thing…and ….it seems they are trying to make up for the years lost in this game!

Now, there is a saying in Afrikaans – “moenie die hol onder die hoender uittrek nie”- basically it means don’t go overboard…but that seems to be exactly what the Bulls are doing!

Just on the Schoolboy hunting ground they have signed JWC fly half, Handre Pollard – okay, I will admit, I am very jealous of that signing! :???:

Others boys confirmed being signed by the Bulls are: Corne Cooper, Arno van Wyk, Justin Basson, Leighton van Wyk, Piet-Louw Strauss, Chris Massyn, Wilco Louw, Kobus Womarans, Corniel Els, Carel Swart, Josh Stander, JP Smith and the Kriel Twins.

Let me just count that quickly…one…two…three…uhmmmm, fifteen. FIFTEEN??? FIFTEEN?? And that’s without confirmation of Reagan Smith! So, in that group alone you have 3 fly halves, an 8th man, 3 flanks, two props, two scrumhalves, three hookers, one fullback and one centre.

And that is not the end of it….they have also signed eleven current Blue Bulls Craven Week players. And we are not even talking about the current contracted players at the union.

Seriously…? I mean… ? Twenty seven new players?

What is the Bulls objective with these signings? Is it to try and eliminate competition? Have they got some sort of league going that we don’t know about? Are they starting a Pinkie and the Brain “Rugby World Domination war”?

The problem is, I simply cannot see playing opportunity for all these youngsters, and inevitably, they will leave for other unions and even overseas teams. So what IS the objective behind this shopping spree?? Perhaps one of you guys on here that is closely involved with Schoolboy rugby can tell me…because I am baffled. And I have to add, very much concerned.

This made me think a bit and I did a bit of research in finding a solution for, what I think is, a very unhealthy situation.

Now, and I actually cannot believe that I am saying this, but perhaps the Yanks are doing a good thing, with the draft system they have in place. Especially the system they call “Entry Draft”.

This a process used to allocate certain players to teams. In a draft, teams take turns selecting from a pool of eligible players. When a team selects a player, the team receives exclusive rights to sign that player to a contract, and no other team in the league may sign the player.

The entry draft is used to allocate players who have recently become eligible to play in a league or Union. The players may come from high school or junior teams or teams in other countries.

An entry draft prevents expensive bidding wars for young talent and ensures that no one team can sign contracts with all of the best young players and make the league uncompetitive. To encourage parity, teams that do poorly in the previous season usually get to choose first in the post season draft. From my limited knowledge I think it is something like the team who comes bottom has first pick, second bottom second pick etc. it is supposed to level the playing field so the team who can pay the most will not win everything.

Drafts are collective bargaining agreements between leagues and unions representing players. These agreements generally stipulate that after a certain number of seasons, a player whose contract has expired becomes a free agent and can sign with any team. They also require minimum and maximum salaries (This I think is very important) for newly drafted players. Drafts are used as a way to restrain teams’ payrolls and reduce the dominance of the league’s perennial contenders.

If a drafted player does not want to sign with a union, he may be traded. So if Handre was chosen by the Lions and wants to go to the Bulls, they may trade him for a player at the Bulls of their choice, etc.

Admittedly, I do not know this system inside out, but what I understand is that different sports types have taken the basics of this system, adapted it in some ways to suite the sport. We can perhaps look at draft systems within a province (to secure a percentage of home grown talent) and then looking nationally to fill the gaps. Whatever suites our needs and turn this into a healthier playing field.

So perhaps SARU and the different unions should get together, have a thinking scrum and put together a draft system, which would benefit the sport we love and not just one union…?


  • let me not make any comments on this… my wrist is still stinging after the slaps I got last night.

  • Comment 1, posted at 18.07.12 12:11:19 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
  • @robdylan (Comment 1) : from??

  • Comment 2, posted at 18.07.12 12:14:08 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner IceAssistant coach
  • Not a comment in response to the above story but as a result of the Bulls ambitious and somewhat aggressive recruitment strategy they have 4 of the best junior locks in the country in their U19 squad – Irne Herbst, Philip du Preez and Jacques du Plessis who all made the SA Schools side in 2011 plus Dennis Visser, who is said be be a huge talent. In my opinion is not just overkill but also greed

  • Comment 3, posted at 18.07.12 12:21:53 by slammerboy Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    slammerboyVodacom Cup player
  • I think they operate on the VC (Venture Capitalist) model, where they sign anyone with potential and then discard 80% after a year and just hold on to the cream. Next year they do the same again.

  • Comment 4, posted at 18.07.12 12:25:53 by MysticShark Reply
    Competition Winner
    MysticSharkTeam captain
  • Make it simple, any player looking for a contract puts his name in the pool. The first month or so, that player’s home union, or current team gets a chance to negotiate for his services. If they cannot agree to terms, or negotiations are not complete by the first deadline, he goes into the draft, bottom picks first, Champs pick last, and a second round of negotiations commence, with trades available. Any player still not contracted after the Draft round becomes free to sign, like they do it now

  • Comment 5, posted at 18.07.12 12:25:58 by Die Kriek Reply

    Super Rugby player
  • @Die Kriek (Comment 5) : OK, maybe that isn’t exactly simple :roll:

  • Comment 6, posted at 18.07.12 12:27:05 by Die Kriek Reply

    Super Rugby player
  • I actually got lambasted by my Bulls friends when I brought up this theory. The Bulls are trying to starve the rest of the country of talent in my honest opinion. Most of those new signings are never even gonna have a shot at a place in the senior team. So instead of them going to a team where they will get playing opportunities and will be allowed to develop, they are now gonna get stuck in Pretoria playing club rugby until they are released from contracts.

  • Comment 7, posted at 18.07.12 12:32:03 by KingRiaan Reply

    KingRiaanTeam captain
  • they know not everybody will make the grade . They sign everybody . and then release the once that dont make the grade …

    Makes it a bit boring if you ask me …

  • Comment 8, posted at 18.07.12 12:40:20 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
    ZibbieTeam captain
  • @slammerboy (Comment 3) : dont you guys think that this will sort itself out after a few years. i made a comment a few days ago stating that all these youngsters will be looking at senior rugby in any case. With all the positions flooded by talented players, i think next years junior may be looking at other unions with senior rugby in mind. Bulls had the card on their side that they are rebuilding from last year`s mass exodus of senior players due to retirement etc, but if the team is flooded with young players, other youngsters may well be moving on. (AND bulls have got the card on their side of Varsity Cup rugby :evil: )

    In any case, if the players leave the bulls after the u/21 season, then we could give them contracts (if needed) and they would actually be over their teenage injury crisis`.

  • Comment 9, posted at 18.07.12 12:41:51 by VanWilder Reply

    VanWilderCurrie Cup player
  • I totally agree with the draft system, it can only be good for the whole country and for the youngsters. Being stuck on the benc for a year or 2 does no confidence for these kids. There are plenty of smaller unions crying out for these players. My big question is who is supplying the money behind the Bulls? Surely the Sharks can compete with regards to advertsing and sponsorship revenues. Also revenues from ticket sales and boxes……it’s seems the Bulls have a multi-millionaire behind them, maybe a mining tycoon…

  • Comment 10, posted at 18.07.12 12:44:01 by Grasshopper Reply

    GrasshopperVodacom Cup player
  • @Grasshopper (Comment 10) :

    i think the Sharks not having a varsity cup team is hurting them . Then again Province has one and you dont see them going on a shopping spree like this

  • Comment 11, posted at 18.07.12 12:51:02 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
    ZibbieTeam captain
  • @VanWilder (Comment 9) : Problem is they will keep the cream of the crop, and leave the rest for the other provinces

  • Comment 12, posted at 18.07.12 12:53:58 by Bokhoring Reply
    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • @Grasshopper (Comment 10) : The draft system is the way to go. The other option is loaning players out to the smaller unions. The parent union could cover half the players salary and have the option of recalling the player in the event of an injury crisis. Players get more game time and the parent unions wouldn’t have to fork out 100% of the wages for those players sitting on the bench.

  • Comment 13, posted at 18.07.12 12:54:21 by slammerboy Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    slammerboyVodacom Cup player
  • Good on the BUlls. they have every right to want to strengthen their union.
    What pisses me off is that we have Straueli and co in charge, who have done wonderfully in the recruitment department, have not followed suit…
    - also agree with the draft system as it benefits the entire country keeping all talented players on form or at least match fit

  • Comment 14, posted at 18.07.12 12:56:55 by pienaar111 Reply

    pienaar111Currie Cup player
  • The proof of the pudding will be in the eating….and that pudding will be Currie Cup and Super Rugby glory, not age group rugby which Im sure they will dominate.

  • Comment 15, posted at 18.07.12 13:18:03 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the SubtleAssistant coach
  • Draft wouldn’t work. Too much provincialism to even contemplate it. It’ll weaken rugby in SA. Lots of these players have allegiances to certain teams they grew up with – not quite the same as in the US where a players allegiance usually lies with the team that pays him the most.

    Best would be to create a roster with a cap limit.

  • Comment 16, posted at 18.07.12 13:18:55 by hendrikp Reply

    hendrikpCurrie Cup player
  • @hendrikp (Comment 16) :

    And by roster, I mean a certain amount of players being allowed onto a teams books.

    For example, in the NFL a team is allowed a maximum of 55 players heading into an NFL season.

    Cap the amount of U-21 players allowed on a teams books, and then set a cap limit to make sure they don’t throw all the big dollars at the best of them.

  • Comment 17, posted at 18.07.12 13:21:06 by hendrikp Reply

    hendrikpCurrie Cup player
  • @Grasshopper (Comment 10) : i still feel that the currie cup should be the breeding ground of all the un-and-coming players and that all 14 teams should play in one division. Rather use the draft system (ONLY) for the currie cup, and give the younger players a chance to prove if they can play against bigger, more experienced players. I know that there is a u/19 and u/21 currie cup also at the same time, but if a u/19 player is good enough to play for the leopards against the Bulls, then give him the chance.

  • Comment 18, posted at 18.07.12 13:32:57 by VanWilder Reply

    VanWilderCurrie Cup player
  • well by signing only one 8th man, they are obviously counting on spies to take them far, thats a big mistake

  • Comment 19, posted at 18.07.12 13:34:54 by MJ Reply

    MJUnder 21 player
  • Good article Ice, I agree that we need some sort of draft system. With all the talented young players in SA and only five teams buying these players, we’re losing too much talent to Europe.

    My opinion, the Bulls may be more guilty of this now, but all 5 of our bigger unions are guilty of having too many players on their books that they don’t use nearly enough.

  • Comment 20, posted at 18.07.12 14:24:17 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    LetgoAssistant coach
  • @Letgo (Comment 20) : I agree 100% – I just used the Bulls as an example, because its happening right now, but I am sure others are also guilty – however This spree is a tad bit over the top!

    Oh, and thanks! :wink:

  • Comment 21, posted at 18.07.12 14:31:59 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner IceAssistant coach
  • @hendrikp (Comment 16) :

    the players in SA dont go to the teams that will pay him the most ? thats news to me :???:

  • Comment 22, posted at 18.07.12 15:15:55 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
    ZibbieTeam captain
  • @hendrikp (Comment 16) : well then Pollards allegiance lies with the Bulls because they’re paying him the most to use his services

  • Comment 23, posted at 18.07.12 15:20:57 by slammerboy Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    slammerboyVodacom Cup player
  • I can not help, but to smile at all the negative comments. Let’s not forget that we get between 130 – 200 (not sure of correct number) new U/19 in at the Sharks Academy every year. So who are we to question the Bulls for signing 29 players?

  • Comment 24, posted at 18.07.12 19:20:49 by Go Sharks Reply

  • @Go Sharks (Comment 24) : Are they contracted?

    (Not being funny – its an honest question as Idont know the set-up – I know they get about 800 applications, and choose about 100-150 – but I do not think they are all ‘signed’ to the union)

    As far asI know – a lot of players pay for their own education, and correct me if I am wrong, Marcell initially was one of the not contracted academy boys.

    Ithink you are comparing apples and pears…the Bulls also still have their academy…besides these signings.. or am I wrong?

  • Comment 25, posted at 18.07.12 19:26:34 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner IceAssistant coach
  • One of the essentials of the draft systems in the USA is sharing revenues between the teams so that the poorer teams can afford the high salaries demanded by the top draft picks and the total salary bill for all teams be roughly the same.

    In SA it will enable the Cheetahs to hold on to their best players using money the get from the Sharks! Ooops.

    Be careful what you wish for, it may just come true. ;-)

  • Comment 26, posted at 18.07.12 19:47:44 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    fyndraaiTeam captain
  • @fyndraai (Comment 26) : Ag please, the whole “Sharks buying all the tjieta players” is so 2006. :roll:

  • Comment 27, posted at 18.07.12 21:06:56 by FireTheLooser Reply

    Assistant coach
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 27) : In the Vrystaat it still is 2006 :twisted:

  • Comment 28, posted at 18.07.12 21:52:32 by MysticShark Reply
    Competition Winner
    MysticSharkTeam captain
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 27) :

    Right now it is 2012 and I’d say if the Cheetahs could offer salaries on par with the Sharks, that Viljoen and Bosman would still be playing in Bloemfontein.

    If it was the same in 2006, then probably the du Plessis brothers and Pienaaar and Steyn would be playing in Bloemfontein today.

    Just think about it. A draft/salary cap/revenue sharing system amongst the 5 SR teams will be a huge win for the Cheetahs and the brunt of the cost will fall on the Sharks and the Stormers.

    I’m all for it.

  • Comment 29, posted at 18.07.12 22:08:32 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    fyndraaiTeam captain
  • What amazes me about all these signings is that these kids are actually being tricked to believed that they all have a realistic chance of playing Super rugby for the Bulls in the next couple years. I know our school education standards are low but surely some of these guys have common sense?? The Bulls team of 2012 is pretty young in average age. If guys like CJ Stander who was a junior Bok cant get a look in do these school boys all think they are Gods gift to rugby and will be picked? Only 22 guys casnt make each team, whether its the Super rugby, Vodacom cup or age group sides. So do the maths kids or ask your parents if you have trouble with numbers! Most of these signings will end up playing club rugby for Tuks and never see the inside of a Bulls changeroom!

  • Comment 30, posted at 19.07.12 08:13:21 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
  • @fyndraai (Comment 29) : the fact is, this will level the playing field, so u won’t have one or two rich unions dominating the comps! All in all this might have fans going to the stadium again as the teams will be even and it should be could, perhaps more revenue?

  • Comment 31, posted at 19.07.12 08:39:35 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner IceAssistant coach

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