Richard Ferguson

Filling the gap

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Original Content on 21 Oct 2010 at 09:49

In South Africa, and recently at the Sharks as well, we are having a problem with the younger generation getting anxious and restless, some of them even deciding to move on to other provinces just to get decent game time. Here is how we should fill the gap.

I am an avid soccer fan, especially when it comes to the English Premier League, and they had the same problem. Young players would go through the very professional youth setup, but once they hit the age of 23 or 24, and they can no longer play in the age group competitions, they would fade away on the reserves bench and never hit their full potential. That is, until they started their affiliates programme.

An affiliate club would be a club that is either in a lower division and still in England, or a club in a different country. In the soccer scene, affiliate clubs have agreements in place to have first option on buying of players, as well as having the luxury of using each others players.

So let’s say the Sharks want to look at doing this, they would get an affiliate club/province in the first division and then look at a club in England or Ireland. What would then happen is that any surplus player that does not get game time at the Sharks, but is still seen as an asset, could go and play for Boland, but still remain a player of the Sharks, much like a loan agreement works.

There is a difference though, the club playing the player would benefit greatly as this player is still being paid by the club that own him, i.e. the Sharks. Many would say that this stutters the development of players and homegrown talent at the lower division club and that is true to certain extent, but it will stop the talented players that are blocked by current players from leaving the country and being lost to the Green and Gold jersey.

This agreement does work both ways though, and say the Sharks enter into such agreement with an Irish club, that club could have loaned the Sharks a decent flyhalf when we were struggling to find a player. It is an immediate solution to a problem that really put the Sharks back in the Super 14 this year.

What do you think? Is this a good idea? Is there a need for a system like this?


  • It could work but I’m not sure it will work with NH teams because of the different seasons.

  • Comment 1, posted at 21.10.10 09:55:42 by Pokkel Reply
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  • I like that idea, it would give the guys game time which everyone wants and they would still be at the Sharks disposal should they be needed at a later date.

    Looking at some of the Pro D2 teams in France also might be an option given how many South Africans are playing for them already. Some of them never played provincial level but came from club rugby.

  • Comment 2, posted at 21.10.10 10:01:03 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @Pokkel (Comment 1) : It might give some of the guys a chance to prove themselves to be called back to SA for the S14 for instance or after the season they could go back to SA and play Currie Cup in the latter stages if needed in case of injury.

  • Comment 3, posted at 21.10.10 10:02:08 by lostfish Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 2) :

    Im not sure about the structures over there.. but it would be ideal with a club or province that is playing in a second tier competition, as they are always looking for players..

  • Comment 4, posted at 21.10.10 10:02:33 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • Not sure I want our youngsters playing overseas with a risk that they get selected to play senior nationals for England. πŸ˜†

  • Comment 5, posted at 21.10.10 10:33:01 by rugbypedia Reply

  • @rugbypedia (Comment 5) :

    That would require them to be there for three years..

  • Comment 6, posted at 21.10.10 10:34:18 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 4) : so who do you support in the english premier league?

  • Comment 7, posted at 21.10.10 10:34:26 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Ben (Comment 7) :

    Im a Red Devil all the way.. Manchester United

  • Comment 8, posted at 21.10.10 10:35:16 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 8) : hense your surname. Typical

  • Comment 9, posted at 21.10.10 10:36:39 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 9) :

    Not related unfortunately. Who do you support?

  • Comment 10, posted at 21.10.10 10:38:13 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 10) : I’m chelsea all the way! The blues

  • Comment 11, posted at 21.10.10 10:43:59 by Ben Reply
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  • Nice idea. The Sharks do something similar, loaning guys to Griquas, Pumas and Leopards in the past.

    Also could be good development to send a young T5 forward to France for a season or 2.

  • Comment 12, posted at 21.10.10 11:33:40 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Brilliant idea, was thinking of something like that. It would stop player migration and help young players mature into better rugby individuals.

  • Comment 13, posted at 21.10.10 13:16:27 by Mocho Reply

  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 8) : What a good chappy

  • Comment 14, posted at 21.10.10 14:44:42 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • read it and i think its a great idea at least the players will stay at the Sharks and still get a great deal of game time but now the problem is the sharks pay him so the other team gets him for free at the Sharks expence who pays the travelling etc


    just think of it this way we can ask for any player that is nt getting any game time to play for us oh my we can do alot of this one 😳 πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 15, posted at 21.10.10 21:29:08 by chaz Reply

  • If you really want an excellent example of this working, you should look at professional baseball in North America. Besides the “Major Leagues”, the top tier clubs, there are three lower divisions, A, AA and AAA. Each Major League club has an affiliation with an A league team, an AA league team and an AAA league team. Players are brought up through the ranks, through A, then AA and then AAA and then possible the Major Leagues. In addition, if a player is recovering from injury, they are sent to the “Minor Leagues” for game time during their recovery. Players are contracted to the Major League club, so any time the club needs a player they can call them up from any of their minor league affiliates. It serves as an excellent training ground and also allows players recovering from injury to get game time without hurting the performance of their club. This system has been in use in baseball in the US for almost 100 years, and works very well.

    I don’t like baseball very much, however this club system of major and minor leagues works very well for developing players and for helping injured players recover. It is certainly worth looking at. All teams, major and minor leagues, are under the same umbrella organization, which is why it works so well. I think this could work with CC premier teams and CC Division 1 teams, however since foreign teams are under a different umbrella organization, I don’t know how well that would work. Also baseball clubs do change their minor league affiliates from time to time, so nothing has to be set in stone forever.

  • Comment 16, posted at 22.10.10 03:09:54 by Dancing Bear Reply
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    Dancing Bear

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