I’ve been wondering a little about the exact, official size of a Super Rugby squad, given that the various South African franchise teams seem to vary a little in terms of the numbers named in their final squads. I took the question to SANZAAR for clarification.
I’m sure we all remember the “almost debacle” that would have prevented Pat Lambie from playing in last year’s Finals Series, if he had ever been fit enough to do so. Lambie, despite having been a Sharks player for many years, would have needed to qualify for the knock-out rounds by playing four round-robin games, owing, we were told, to the fact that he was not initially named in the Sharks’ squad for the season (due to being injured at the time).
I had always believed – erroneously, as it turns out – that the naming of an official squad prior to the competition was really only for media and marketing purposes, rather than any hard requirements in terms of eligibility. SANZAAR’s comms manager, Greg Thomas, has set the record straight overnight, confirming that “only those players named in this squad will be eligible for finals unless replacement players are required for injuries. Any replacement player will have to have played four regular season matches to qualify for finals.”
What about squad size, though? The Sharks, yesterday, named 45 players, but the Bulls named 46 a few days prior to that and the Lions only 40. “The squad allowance has been increased this year to 45,” says Thomas. “This will be imposed by SANZAAR.”
It seems the Sharks have this one right and have all their ducks properly in a row this season. I’m not sure quite how the Bulls intend to get away with sneaking an extra player into their squad; the Lions, on the other hand, are possibly being a little foolish in not filling their quota. It s, of course, completely possible that neither the Bulls nor the Lions have opted to reveal exactly which list of 45 names have been sent through to the tournament’s ruling body, for whatever reason.
For the Sharks, though, this matter is hopefully clear. Any player named on this list will be automatically eligible to play in the finals series, regardless of appearances in the round robin phase. Any player not on that list will need to play in four reound robin games in order to qualify for the finals. This stipulation only applies to the finals series (i.e. from the quarter finals onward) and not to the regular season.Tweet