Vodacom Cup eligibility rules to hamstring Sharks XV

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Vodacom Cup on 2 May 2011 at 07:30
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

Sharks XV coach Sean Everitt appears to have been dealt a hammer blow as his side prepares for their Vodacom Cup semi-final against the Pampas XV in Potchefstroom this coming weekend. A new and hastily-communicated eligibility rule from SA Rugby looks set to rule out nearly half of his starting pack of forwards…

Let’s take a wee step back here, though and have a look at the problem that SA Rugby is trying to solve. The Vodacom Cup, ever since its inception back in 1997 (or so), was meant to be a competition to showcase emerging talent. Given that any union also fielding a Super Rugby team would be unlikely to give the Vodacom Cup much importance, though, it has often become the proverbial “dumping ground” for players deemed short on form or match practice and over the years many players on the fringes of Super Rugby squads have ended up yo-yo-ing in and out of the Vodacom Cup throughout the season. SA Rugby wants to prevent the situation of a union “loading” its Vodacom Cup team with Super Rugby players in a crucial knock-out match, since this would be completely contrary to the goals of the competition, hence the introduction of eligibility criteria. Makes sense, from a big picture point of view… but how do you do it?

Well, this time around, it seems, you do it at the eleventh hour and the latest communique from the governing body only tends to reinforce my feeling that the Vodacom Cup in 2011 is very much an afterthought in the corridors of power. One could be forgiven for thinking that they’re making it up as they go along this year, with decisions regarding the competition format being decided on week by week.

Here’s the wording of the latest ruling, aimed at preventing too many Super Rugby players appearing in the play-offs: “Players who appeared in Vodacom Super Rugby matches may participate in the quarter final matches of the Vodacom Cup. However, players who appeared in a Vodacom Super Rugby match 22 on four (4) or more occasions are deemed ineligible for Vodacom Cup semi-final and final matches.”

This is an important change to the way it usually works. In the past, there have been requirements along the lines of “a player must have played at least XXX games (or minutes) during the league phases to be eligible to play in the knock-outs”, which while still open to abuse, was probably a lot more sensible (and fair). Apart from ruling out a player like Jacques-Louis Potgieter from this weekend’s match (which we knew about all along and were prepared for) the above, which I must emphasise was only communicated to the media two days ago, means that none of Craig Burden, Anton Bresler or Gerhard Mostert is available to the Sharks XV this weekend either, despite all three having played a significant role in the league stages of the campaign.

My only hope here is that this ruling was communicated to the Union’s coaching staff at a point in the season where they could have factored it into their planning, rather than so late in the game that it’s bound to catch them unawares. Spare a thought, too, for the players who have worked so hard to help their team get to the knock-outs, only to informed that they’re not allowed to play in them…


  • I didn’t realise we would lose Burden as well..

    This is quite a blow..

  • Comment 1, posted at 02.05.11 07:36:26 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • Skeate can play… 😉

  • Comment 2, posted at 02.05.11 08:19:21 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • The SARU regulations states that it is 3 and not 4 BTW. Those regulations were last updated on 1 April 2011.

    I have a copy of the Vodacom cup 2011 regulations downloaded before 1 April on my PC at home. I will let you know if the phrasing has been the same since it was issued or has changed.

    I don’t think SARU would have changed it though and I think you are being a bit harsh on them Rob.

    In all likelyhood they have actually decided to be proactive for a change and remind the teams of this regulation rather than deal with legal challenges from some provinces after the fact.

  • Comment 3, posted at 02.05.11 08:39:36 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • It is point 15.7 on page 24 of the Rules and regulations which you can download from the SARU website.

  • Comment 4, posted at 02.05.11 08:41:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Maybe Deysal can play for the Sharks 15. I think Botes is the most under rated player in the sharks squad.

  • Comment 5, posted at 02.05.11 09:32:32 by Mocho Reply

  • Happy St George’s Day y’all. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 6, posted at 02.05.11 09:41:26 by McLovin Reply

  • I see the Bulls beat the Lions!! Hehehe

  • Comment 7, posted at 02.05.11 09:46:29 by wpw Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 3) : KSA – I’m just going on the SA Rugby press release that hit my inbox on 29 April.

    Glad to know that it was always part of the competition rules in some form… and in my article I in know way definitively said that it hadn’t been communicated to the unions earlier…

    My only hope here is that this ruling was communicated to the Union’s coaching staff at a point in the season where they could have factored it into their planning, rather than so late in the game that it’s bound to catch them unawares.

  • Comment 8, posted at 02.05.11 09:58:31 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : But you do say it is a new and hastily communicated rule by SARU. 😉 It has been a rule since before the start of the comp this season.

  • Comment 9, posted at 02.05.11 11:29:27 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • I have no problems with this. If the rule was there from the start then nobody has anything to complain about. Jean Deysel will be eligible to play for them but I highly doubt Plum will let him go. Ross Skeate should play for them. Who else is there? Where has Kobus de Kock gone to?

  • Comment 10, posted at 02.05.11 23:50:31 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author

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