Brenden Nel has just written up a very interesting piece on SuperSport, based on an interview with SARU CEO Jurie Roux. The subject of the discussion was retention of players for the Boks, despite big money offers to play for other international teams.
The recent case of Josh Strauss deciding he wants to qualify to play for Scotland, along with other youngsters including CJ Stander and Danie Poolman chasing Irish representation has brought this matter into sharp relief and Roux has admitted that the relative weakness of the South African Rand makes it infeasible to counter these offers on financial grounds alone.
One thing that Roux did say, though, which I think warrants further attention, is that the Under 20 (or “Baby Bok” “) side would now be nominated as he official “second side” from an eligibility perspective. In other words, starting (I guess) from next year, any player who represents the Baby Boks will immediately become ineligible to ever play for another country.
Think about that one for a second.
You’re expecting a young man who according to the legal requirements of our country is not yet old enough even to sign a binding contract without parental sponsorship, to make a choice that will affect his future as an international player. How can that possibly be a defensible strategy, either legally or ethically?
You’re asking a player, at the age of 20 or younger, to bet the farm on the fact that he may one day be considered good enough to comply with the vague and fickle selection policies of whoever the current Bok coach happens to be, before accepting the honour of representing his country at under 20 level. It’s crazy, it’s wrong and I wouldn’t be even a bit surprised if it leads to many players turning down an SA Under 20 spot in years to come.
Jurie, you’ve got this one wrong, mate. Go back to the drawing board and think of something else.Tweet