The Problems with an Open Cheque book

Written by Iza Loubser (Ice)

Posted in :Admin, Bulls, Currie Cup, In the news, Lions, Original Content, School Rugby, Springboks, Super Rugby on 23 Apr 2013 at 22:08

So, call me gorgeous 😆 , and call me blonde, but add Clairvoyant to that resume now!

As some of you might recall…mind you, or not…I wrote a little piece on the Bulls with their open chequebook some time ago.

And it seems the only problem might just not be that they tried to dry up the talent youngster pool, to ensure success. They seemed to have mismanaged the money pool. Or at least the planning thereof.

According to and  and Brenden Nel in particular, the Bulls union not so much spend more than they had, but had a bit of bad planning for the future where their shopping spree is concerned.

“With the sudden announcement of Springbok fullback Zane Kirchner becoming the latest to leave for greener pastures overseas, there is a concern that the Vodacom Bulls may be facing a mass exodus just when they are getting ahead in their rebuilding process.

The Bulls, by their own admission, had a tough time last year when they lost several big-name Springboks after the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and committed themselves to an open rebuilding process.

By signing up some of the best young talent in the country, they made it through to the playoffs in 2012, and are currently leading the South African conference in Vodacom Super Rugby this year.

But a string of moves announced in recent weeks may threaten that, as a senior core of players is already leaving, lured by the increased money available abroad, while junior stars look for more remuneration as well.”

While the Zane Kirchner’s announcement caught the Bulls off-guard, I thought he might be an asset to any opposing team, but that’s just me.  Juandre Kruger’s move to France, after leaving them under the impression he would re-sign with the Super Rugby franchise, Morne Steyn, another opposition hotty (not as in sexy) in my books,  who will also head to France while veteran centre Wynand Olivier (Geeeeezzz – yet ANOTHER one), who, by his own admission hasn’t signed anything yet, is also set to move abroad to finish off his career. (I will reserve my opinion to myself on all 3 players, whether I would have signed them for now)  😈

Yes – these moves are expected but, more worrying is the amount of other players whose contracts come to an end this year who haven’t recommitted to the Bulls after – in their words – “less than expected” offers.

Springbok Jano Vermaak is one, who has initially rejected the Bulls’ offer to renew his contract,  (cocky little shit – just for the sake of our Lions readers) and is currently negotiating with Stade Francais after the Bulls apparently offered him “close to half” his current salary to sign again with the team.

Francois Venter is another one who initially rejected his renewal offer, as it meant a pay cut, and apparently Dewald Potgieter and Willie Wepener, have been asked to take salary cuts.

“With one Bulls board member confirming there has not been a cut in the player budget, the question arises why so many players are being offered contracts lower than they are currently earning? “

And here comes my favourite part:

“The answer lies in the massive amount of juniors the Bulls have signed and the fact that most players have yearly increases built into their contracts. There have been extra fees in securing the services of players like Jan Serfontein and Arno Botha for a longer term and with the budget only so big, paying some players more mean others need to be cut.”

“It is a problem of the Bulls’ own doing though, as their policy of signing the country’s best juniors was always going to cause a logjam at some point, and while player salaries grow, the income stream – sponsorships, season tickets and suites – have all stayed relatively constant over the past few years.”

I’m not gonna bore you with what you have already read in the papers – which above quotes show.

My question is. Do we need another system in South Africa to keep competition between Rugby Unions healthy and fair? And affordable to all? And Unions out of financial trouble….


  • Wow – just read some comments on my original post! quite significant and on the mark!

  • Comment 1, posted at 23.04.13 22:16:52 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Couldnt happen to a nicer bunch.

    Poetic justice.

  • Comment 2, posted at 24.04.13 00:13:42 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • maybe the good youngsters who deserve to be playing will now be playing for unions that need them instead of less competitive competitions that keep them our of S15 for years.

  • Comment 3, posted at 24.04.13 07:36:02 by Dunx Reply

  • Wow Ice she lives! Glad to see a article from you again 🙂

  • Comment 4, posted at 24.04.13 08:24:10 by Uli Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli Boelie
  • Always thought to myself that these youngsters are absolutely brain dead to sign with a union where you’re fighting 4-5 guys for one position.

    And now the pay cut. It’s like playing the lottery with your career, only very few will ultimately benefit.

  • Comment 5, posted at 24.04.13 09:06:31 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • Bloody interesting read, thanks Ice.

  • Comment 6, posted at 24.04.13 10:01:49 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • I have thought for some time that the Bulls strategy would come back to bite.
    Aside from limiting the creative development of some of our most promising backline prospects by indoctrinating them into the Bulls/Heynecke Meyer “kick & chase” gameplan from U19 level there is the added prospect of so many talented players being lost to the system by not getting enough game time.
    This is one of the major factors that got the Lions into the mess that they are now in post the Luyt era. I was involved with a group of ex players over 10 years ago that looked at the Lion’s finances and we were shocked at the numbers of contracted players on the books at that time, many of whom had rarely played for the union and were unlikely to in the future.
    I think that there is lot going on behind the scenes in Pretoria that will come out in due course. Rumours of systematic steriod abuse persist and, if true, are sure to result in a more high profile player than their former U21 captain Zane Botha being caught.

  • Comment 7, posted at 24.04.13 10:44:35 by steve Reply

  • Wow, Steve. That is a heavy rumour!

  • Comment 8, posted at 24.04.13 11:16:06 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice (Comment 8) : I would tread very lightly with that steroid thing. Open that box and unions other than the Bulls are going to be in the spotlight.

  • Comment 9, posted at 24.04.13 11:18:58 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Surely players are regularly tested for dope?

  • Comment 10, posted at 24.04.13 11:36:42 by McLovin Reply

  • Don’t think it’s that bad. When all rumours have subsided it will be interesting to see who actually left and who stayed on.

  • Comment 11, posted at 24.04.13 11:39:14 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 10) : You can’t test for something that you don’t know exist.

    It’s only once they learn of a steroid and it’s molecular finger print (don’t quote me on the wording) that they are able to test sportsmen for it.

    That’s how guys like Armstrong and Maurice Green were able to get away with doping.

    I watched a whole documentary on it a few years back, you merely have to stay ahead of the game.

  • Comment 12, posted at 24.04.13 11:46:44 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • You only have to look at the Bulls recruitment of junior locks in 2010 which confirms their obsession of accumulating and stock piling the brightest talent in SA.

    From the 2011 SA Schools side 3 locks were recruited – Philip du Preez, Irne Herbst and Jacques du Plessis plus Jannes Kirsten and Dennis Visser

    Philip du Preez has seen the light and has moved to the Cheetahs while the other 4 remain in the Bulls setup. Herbst, Kirsten and Visser have been involved in the Baby Boks tour of Argentina. du Plessis has been injured so did not feature but if fit will likely be selected for the JWC in June.

  • Comment 13, posted at 24.04.13 11:58:47 by slammerboy Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 2) : :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 14, posted at 24.04.13 12:08:50 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @robdylan (Comment 9) : Is that a bad thing?
    I have no idea how widespread or systematic it is but do hear plenty of anecdotal evidence – player X has put on 20kgs and player Y has gone from bench pressing 150kg to over 200kg in a couple of months. Rightly or wrongly fingers tend to get pointed towards Pretoria. The subject was quite topical following on from the Lance Armstrong admission.
    I have to think that if it is systematic Sarfu are complicit or at least turn a blind eye.
    I’m a little cynical about some of the “mistakes” with prescribed meds and “tainted” supplements stories that we’ve heard.
    @FireTheLooser (Comment 12) : I am sure that is right – the Secret Race written by Tyler hamilton is very interesting – in particular his comments on the sportsman across many other sports (soccer, tennis and others) that were patients of the drug docter that they used on armstrong’s team

  • Comment 15, posted at 24.04.13 12:10:23 by steve Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 12) : Was aware of the detestable dope, just didn’t know it was available to rugby players. Reckon it must take serious cash to get your hands on the good stuff. And you need a lot of help from the right people.

  • Comment 16, posted at 24.04.13 12:17:28 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 16) : detestable should read untestable.

  • Comment 17, posted at 24.04.13 12:39:29 by McLovin Reply

  • Nice one Ice!

  • Comment 18, posted at 24.04.13 13:21:43 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • A playing culture may leave the Bulls along with their senior players. Good or bad? You decide.

  • Comment 19, posted at 24.04.13 13:24:39 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author

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