Time for a complete SA Rugby overhaul

Written by Henko Pienaar (Mutley)

Posted in :Original Content, Reader Submissions, Springboks on 24 Apr 2017 at 12:00
Tagged with : , , , ,

Let’s be honest with ourselves, SA Rugby is crap at the moment. Our entire system is outdated and we need a complete overhaul if we want to compete against the Top teams like the All Blacks and England.

Our National Team has fallen to new lows in the last 5 years from a first ever draw against Argentina in 2012, to a first home soil loss to them in 2015 and our first ever away loss in 2016, our shock World Cup loss to Japan in 2015, our first loss to England in 10 years in 2016, our first ever home loss to Ireland in 2016. Our first ever loss against Italy, record loss against the All Blacks and the list goes on. A lot of first but not the good kind. There is no doubt that rugby in South Africa is not up to standard but we have an opportunity to correct it, but it will take a complete overhaul.

If we look at the other sporting codes in South Africa, let’s look at cricket in South Africa. We have 6 franchise teams based on geographic selection in South Africa, completely professional and new (In terms of they are independent of unions) then we have the unions or the semi-professional teams. The franchises play each other yearly in strength vs strength each year, to keep SA players fit and ready for the national team, to give them constant exposure at the highest level. Then we have the unions. The goal of the unions is to develop the players for the franchises. It is not the job of the franchise to develop the players. There are 6 teams that are about the same in strength and support. That is keeping our national team well stocked and competitive. If one player gets injured, there is another ready to take his place.

We need the same with our rugby. 8 completely new professional franchise teams that yearly compete against each other in the Currie Cup and then the unions are the semiprofessional teams that feed players to the franchises and develop players for SA Rugby. The franchises are run completely independent from the unions and have no relationship other that getting players. The top 4/5 franchises every year then compete in the Super Rugby representing South Africa as the 4/5 best teams in the country. We will constantly have strength vs strength teams from 8 regions in South Africa competing against the best of the country, just getting better and stronger each year. Inevitably making the Springboks stronger.

The franchises every year drafts players from the unions to play for them and there wont be the over or under supply of players to any franchise because the unions will develop the u/19, u/21 and senior players while the 8 franchise teams only drafts the players that they need, basically 30-35 per team. The franchises are then managed by SA Rugby to ensure that the right players play at the right teams and that you don’t have 4 Springbok locks in one team for example.

This is my idea on how to make SA Rugby competitive again, putting aside all provincialism and putting Springbok rugby as the first and only goal.

Looking forward to your comments.


  • I like the idea, but the unions will never vote for this.

    I agree we need to do something drastic to resurrect our rugby.

  • Comment 1, posted at 24.04.17 12:23:45 by StevieS Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 1) : And that is the biggest reason why we need it. Too much power in the hands of dead weight ‘legacy’ unions

  • Comment 2, posted at 24.04.17 12:59:18 by Die Kriek Reply

  • I don’t think there is enough time between Super Rugby and Tests for the 8 franchises to have full strength teams to be able to play Currie Cup to qualify for Super Rugby.

  • Comment 3, posted at 24.04.17 13:07:43 by Bokhoring Reply
  • For me the biggest and only problem with our rugby is we have created a culture of entitalism,where teams are entitled to compete in perputity in competitions no matter how shit they perform.
    We should have a tournament in each country to determine the top four teams who go through to contest the Super 12,
    So only the best compete, and the local tournament (Currie Cup) is before the Super rugby tournament so all players are playing for a chance to play Super rugby.
    Next year nobody’s place is guarenteed in the Super rugby tournament even if you win it you need to qualify to play it again.
    That way only the best teams get to compete,and the best players get to play.

  • Comment 4, posted at 24.04.17 13:12:23 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 4) : and if you remember correctly that’s how it was! Super rugby was supposed to be the Southern equivalent of the Heineken cup! Then some idiots decided that they had a better idea and the rest is history!!!

  • Comment 5, posted at 24.04.17 13:24:20 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • Nice one Mutley! Something to think about!!! Changes needs to be made just finding the ability to do it in SA rugby might not nlbr as easy as currently I think most of the administrators are not as professional as the players! There’s an attitude of take as much as possible while I have the chance and not build SA rugby to where it belongs!

  • Comment 6, posted at 24.04.17 13:30:52 by JD Reply
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  • It’s funny how England and Ireland are pushing for top 3 rankings in world rugby, yet none of the NH clubs would be able to compete with the kiwi SR teams (they’ll probably even struggle against some SA SR teams).

    Seems we’re a nation spoilt for choice when it comes to players, and we’ve neglected the need for top coaching, because we simply rely on the next big name player.

    Our rugby culture as a whole is pretty rotten….Only players from brand-name schools are assured of continued selection, the hard grafters like Marcel had to work 3 times as hard as the rest, and was still overlooked for a WC spot.

    Hard work is not being rewarded, and hard workers are not being rewarded with quality coaching in order for them to step to the next level.

    Buy skills coaches from NZ, buy skills coaches from NZ, buy skills coaches from NZ!

  • Comment 7, posted at 24.04.17 13:53:50 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 7) : Fat load of good the Stormers New Zealand defense coach did them on Saturday they let thru 8 tries.

  • Comment 8, posted at 24.04.17 14:10:07 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 8) : Defence coach is Paul Treu – the Kiwi is the Skills coach.

  • Comment 9, posted at 24.04.17 14:23:21 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 9) : Fat lot of good the skills coach did them on Saturday,they got given 50 points

  • Comment 10, posted at 24.04.17 14:37:55 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 10) : After 8 games they have managed to score 37 tries vs. the paltry 17 from the Sharks. I would not mind their skills coach coming to Durban at all.

  • Comment 11, posted at 24.04.17 14:44:18 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 11) : They looked pretty shit on Saturday ,sorry first time in New Zealand in 2 years and they looked like it too, don’t see anything in that entire Stormers team to get excited about

  • Comment 12, posted at 24.04.17 14:51:38 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 12) : They might have looked shit, no arguments about that, but they showed a hell of a lot more fight than what we did, if we had that same fight we would have taken the game against the Rebels

  • Comment 13, posted at 24.04.17 15:01:39 by HB Reply
  • @The hound (Comment 8) : Thought they had a kiwi skills coach…..SA have defense and forwards coaches to burn – backline and skills coaches however, only pretenders around.

  • Comment 14, posted at 24.04.17 15:21:05 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @HB (Comment 13) : Don’t remember theRebels crossing our line, but saw the Crusaders crossing there’s 8 times,

  • Comment 15, posted at 24.04.17 15:32:19 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 15) : I know, but what im saying is although the stormers were shit, they showed a lot more fight than what we did, and if we did show the fight they have, we would have won the game, there was no willingness, no fight and no self belief in our guys on Saturday

  • Comment 16, posted at 24.04.17 15:35:39 by HB Reply
  • Guys there is no easy solution, someone mentioned playing the best 4 teams from the CC, my problem with that is that during CC the likes of the Sharks, Bulls, Stormers for example a large no of Boks out for the International part of the season, this is where teams do not have a level playing field so that idea goes out of the window for me, do we need a better solution? YES

    Also remember some teams have players playing in Japan for example during the CC period.

  • Comment 17, posted at 24.04.17 17:09:23 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • Your idea certainly has merit. Especially the franchises being equal and independant of the unions and only contracting a limited number of players.
    The only problem I see is that if the best SA players are evenly spread between 8 teams and the best 4 of those play SR, then 50% of our best players will not play SR and our SR teams will be even weaker than they are now.

    The SR franchises will also have to be independent of the CC franchises.

  • Comment 18, posted at 25.04.17 04:20:11 by fyndraai Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 18) : I agree with you. The issue currently is we don’t have enough money to keep the best 240 players in the country. Under this model we would have to keep 320 players. It’s not affordable. We will be lucky to have 4 strong super rugby franchises. I think we should have a system that feeds into 4 top franchise teams and no more.

  • Comment 19, posted at 25.04.17 07:31:25 by MikeSebMatt Reply


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