Richard Ferguson

The greater good of SA rugby

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Bulls, Cheetahs, EP Kings, Lions, Original Content, Sharks, Stormers, Super Rugby on 20 Feb 2012 at 09:35
Tagged with : , ,

There has been a lot of speculation surrounding the possible inclusion of the Kings in the Super Rugby competition from 2013 onwards, and how exactly this will happen. I am not interested in getting into a debate about this specific matter, but rather how the players will be treated should this happen.

I have heard the phrase ‘drafting-system’ being thrown about, and this certainly has its merits. What it basically entails, is that an even split of talent is spread amongst the unions, and will make our teams equal in strength. This would also help should a talented player be stuck in a union behind an established player, and he will be guaranteed game time elsewhere.

If we have to look at an example of this happening, for instance the situation at the Stormers over the last few years, where they have had an abundance of talent in the centres, someone like Juan de Jongh, Johann Sadie or Tim Whitehead would have landed at another union, where they would have improved a South African team.

But let us delve into this a bit deeper. Say Tim Whitehead got transferred to the Sharks, would he have gotten any game time, with the continued selection of Stefan Terblanche in our midfield. Would the Sharks even have had an option of getting a centre with Adi Jacobs already on the bench?

At the end of the day, the balance has been somewhat restored, and this all by itself. Whitehead moved to the Sharks, Sadie went to the Bulls and now the Stormers only have two first choice centres. Magic?!

Closer to home, the Sharks have a pool of quality loose forwards matched only by the Stormers (in certain blogger’s mind anyway), but does this mean any of our players would walk into another South African team? If we had to give up a loose forward, which would be the unlucky player to go? I wouldn’t want to see any of Alberts, Deysel, Mthembu, Daniel, Coetzee running out for another union, especially not on a permanent basis.

This leads me to my next point, which is the use of loan players. Some of the unions do have too many players in a certain position, yet are battling for decent depth in another. Surely working together for the greater good of South African rugby is something our unions can do.

All these theories sound awfully good, but we have to remember that shifting, selling and loaning players come down to one simple thing that unions have very little control over, and that is the player himself. Surely for a player to up and leave Durban to go to Bloemfontein and play for a season, even if it is an almost guaranteed amount of first team rugby, is a big decision, especially if this player is settled with a family, or has been with a union all his life. The human factor in this professional era is often forgotten, and this is something that is rather sad.

What exactly the answer is, I cannot say, but these things will have to be given some thought if SARU are to follow through with their plans.


  • Its a hard call to make true . But if in my job im behind a more senior guy and he is getting all the work causing me not to get any exposure i would start looking elsewhere

    And if the best opportunity is in cape town why not ?

    but then again thats just my feeling

  • Comment 1, posted at 20.02.12 10:35:12 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 1) :

    I agree with you, some people might be more open to moving to a new place to further his career, but this type of thing cannot be forced upon a player..

  • Comment 2, posted at 20.02.12 10:40:53 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • The main question that i think SARu need to answer is what will happen to the 40+ contracted players of the Union that falls out of Super Rugby to allow for the Kings? Yes its all well and good to say they must play Vodacom Cup and the Union must earn its place back in Super Rugby but what is more likely to happen is a mass overseas exodus of players! Im sure there are a good number of European and Japanese clubs just waiting for the likes of the Lions or Sharks to drop out of rugby and believe me the next day the likes of Pat Lambie,Elton Jantjies, the DUP brothers etc will be on the phone to agents and organising foreign deals. So what is exactly in the best interest of SA Rugby.

  • Comment 3, posted at 20.02.12 10:55:56 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 3) :

    I dont really think they thought this trough . Lets say the Lions drop out . You will loose a guy like Taute .. not a good thing

    If the cheetahs drop out what happens to Brussouw ?

  • Comment 4, posted at 20.02.12 11:18:10 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 4) :

    You talk about one or two big players..

    But consider the effect on the unions entire youth structure and system of bringing youngsters through from school level.

  • Comment 5, posted at 20.02.12 11:19:51 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 5) :

    it seems the whole country will just die if the sharks get relegated .. from NMMU to the Lions … no more supply of Sharks youngsters …

  • Comment 6, posted at 20.02.12 11:30:04 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 6) : Imagine Free State’s youth structures coming to a halt. Now there’s a scary thought!

  • Comment 7, posted at 20.02.12 12:50:59 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 7) : They’re not the only Union with well established youth structures. Any Union losing their franchise stands to lose a lot more than just an A team

  • Comment 8, posted at 20.02.12 13:04:30 by beet Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 7) :
    @beet (Comment 8) :

    The consequences of any team losing Super Rugby status has far reaching implications.. It could end a franchise..

  • Comment 9, posted at 20.02.12 13:05:55 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • All i can see happening is that say for instance the Sharks come last and are relegated. Those players will then be ‘contracted’ by the Kings because they are a lot better than anyone they have. So effectively it will be the same guys playing under a different name. I say ‘contracted’ because i dont think the Kings could afford the Sharks salary bill so someone else would have to write the cheques…SARU?

  • Comment 10, posted at 20.02.12 13:27:31 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 10) : if we manage to come last in Super Rugby with the squad we have, then we quite frankly DESERVE to lose all our player… just hope in that case the coaches and administrators will get shipped out too!

  • Comment 11, posted at 20.02.12 13:30:25 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 11) : Rob remember its not last in Super Rugby but last of the SA teams. WHilst local derbies will obviously play a part in points gained & lost, the draw also plays a big part. As a team that doesnt have to play say the Reds & Crusaders away or say doesnt play 1 of them will have an advantage over a team who say doesnt play the Force this year. So whilst the Sharks do have a good side and shouldnt finish last, there are a lot of things that come into it. I mean say for instance the Cheetahs finish as the last SA side but are only 2 points off the Lions who are 2nd from bottom, but the Cheetahs played the Crusaders away and the Lions didnt this year but instead they played the Rebels. Now is it fair that the Cheetahs go down?

  • Comment 12, posted at 20.02.12 14:09:46 by SheldonK Reply

  • If i can add something, i think the whole Super Rugby isnt so Super anymore, talks of adding another team (Kings) and when the contract comes to an end 2015 they wanne add teams from Japan and USA and while all this is happening our local CC is just becoming more weaker every year. SR already streches into July, our CC use to be the strongest tournament in the world, maybe it still is but for how long? Midway into the CC the SR players join, those who are not injured already.
    If it was up to me i would say bring it down to S12 again, take top 4 teams from each country, teams that reach the semi finales of their respective leagues, as much as i want to see the Kings play SR and go to the stadium every Saturday, i would rather want to see a strong CC. How do you get the top 4 teams? Open up the CC to all the unions, the smaller unions will become stronger, fans will start supporting their locals teams and businesses will start sponsering them again, and you will not have smaller unions struggling to get sponsers for their jerseys. It will also keep the top teams on their feet and we as fans will see the best players and the best rugby like in the 80s and early 90s, and maybe by doing that, just maybe EP Kings will have a slight chance of playing Super Rugby. (like in 1994)
    Dont quote me I might be wrong about Japan and USA but i know they are planning to add teams from other two countries.

  • Comment 13, posted at 20.02.12 19:38:16 by pierre_mackie Reply

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