Confirmed: 45 is the magic number

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 17 Feb 2017 at 11:07
Tagged with : , , ,

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.


  • Now that clears things up.

  • Comment 1, posted at 17.02.17 11:22:30 by SheldonK Reply
  • So that is probably then why Keegan is on the list even though he is out injured. We’ll need him for the knock-outs so good to see we’re not making the same mistake twice.

  • Comment 2, posted at 17.02.17 11:31:42 by boertjie101 Reply
  • Thanks Rob

  • Comment 3, posted at 17.02.17 11:32:55 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @boertjie101 (Comment 2) : precisely. Even though, I’m hoping, Keegan will be able to play at least 4 regular season games, this is very sensible insurance.

  • Comment 4, posted at 17.02.17 11:37:15 by robdylan Reply
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  • Well done to all the Sharks management for getting this spot on!!! Great to see!!!

  • Comment 5, posted at 17.02.17 19:46:31 by JD Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : Appreciate the effort in obtaining clarification rob

    in relation to touring squad size: I was informed recently that there is no formal restriction on how many players teams can take on any SR tour be it for any amount of games. is it at all possible that you ask the SANZAAR comms manager if this is accurate ?

  • Comment 6, posted at 17.02.17 19:54:14 by revolverocelot Reply

  • Thanks Rob…I assume, though, that upon application an injury replacement can be ok’d by SANZAAR even if he hasn’t played 4 games…so if, for example, God forbid, all our hookers end up injured by the last week of the tourney, injury replacements then can still be made…these would only be ok’d if no other qualifying player is available for that position?

  • Comment 7, posted at 17.02.17 20:11:23 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 7) : yes

  • Comment 8, posted at 17.02.17 21:03:34 by robdylan Reply
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  • @revolverocelot (Comment 6) : that’s not correct. certainly SANZAAR will only pay for up to 27.

  • Comment 9, posted at 17.02.17 21:04:02 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 9) : SANZAAR pays the cost for player that tour, thus the teams cant foot the bill for additional players ?

    what happens if you have three hookers in your touring squad and two go down within 24 hours of kick off, id suspect the health hooker would start and as soon as he has to come off its uncontested scrums ?

  • Comment 10, posted at 17.02.17 21:11:47 by revolverocelot Reply

  • @pastorshark (Comment 7) : @robdylan (Comment 8) : yes but think SANZAAAAAR will only approve props and hookers as there’s a safety risk.

  • Comment 11, posted at 17.02.17 21:49:31 by JD Reply
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  • @revolverocelot (Comment 10) : well technically you could forfeit the game!? Would be interesting to see what SANZAAAAAR does if it happens but hope it never happens to the Sharks!

  • Comment 12, posted at 17.02.17 21:58:39 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 12) : interesting

    I check online squad anouncements for tours over the past two season, 27 is definitely the cap rob was correct, I guess it then add a certain degree of tactical element to picking a squad.

    remember last year when the jags had two warm up games in sa right before playing the cheetahs and then us in the first ever two sr fixtures, they brought a big squad of 45 over. after the two warm up games did some player have to go home ? or did they happen to just stick around in sa, is that allowed even, are you breaking a rule, would you get punished for sending more than 27 to the country or city your playing in.

    to a degree I do understand that you wouldn’t want to send dozens of players on tour when only 23 can play on match day, rather have them play in the currie cup qualifiers and have a run out.

    Not sure how many of you watched the most recent brendan venter interview were he outlined one of our issues in sa that we have so many option and young guys coming through that when someone loses form we discard and move on to the next wonder kid. were as Oz, england, italy, Nz dont do that and its helped their rugby. rather truely work with the player, give them a real chancd not just one make or break season

  • Comment 13, posted at 17.02.17 23:25:41 by revolverocelot Reply

  • @revolverocelot (Comment 13) : think it’s a difficult decision as the more players travel the more players will be “suffering travel fatigue” and teams will also be liable for the extra cost. Another think is like you said it’s two or three weeks of carrying tackle bags where as they could have played CC qualifiers (or club games) if they stayed in SA.

  • Comment 14, posted at 18.02.17 00:35:14 by JD Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : @JD (Comment 14) : announcing a smaller than 45 player squad (but submitting a full squad) is likely a tactic to control costs and expectations, everyone in the broader squad will be told that they are either deemed to be not ready for sr just yet or not recruited for sr, but instead will likely play ccq unless a serious number of injuries happen. all franchises have a broader squad, I guess in this manner you avoid the situation where a young guy does get announced in a 45 but only plays ccq and feels left out

  • Comment 15, posted at 18.02.17 15:40:50 by revolverocelot Reply

  • @revolverocelot (Comment 15) : sorry don’t see logic in that. Reminded me a bit of cloak and dagger $h!£ previous Sharks coaches tried with announcing a team and then letting another team start the game. Anyway before announcing a squad I believe all players can be told what their role will be especially players that’s in the 45 man squad but will only play if really needed. Glad Sharks announced the full squad of 45 players!

  • Comment 16, posted at 18.02.17 15:54:57 by JD Reply
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