Joint con­tracts are on of­fer to keep top names play­ing on home turf

CityPress - - Front Page - HEN­DRIK CRONJÉ sports@city­press.co.za

Lo­cal rugby sup­port­ers fi­nally have a rea­son to smile. The plan by the SA Rugby Union (Saru) to stem the enor­mous ex­o­dus of top play­ers head­ing over­seas by way of joint con­tracts with its unions is gain­ing some mo­men­tum.

World Cup tough guys Damian de Al­lende, Lood de Jager, Eben Etze­beth and Frans Mal­herbe are among the list of about 20 play­ers with whom Saru has al­ready signed con­tracts.

The full list of names has not been made avail­able, but City Press’ sis­ter pa­per, Rap­port, con­firmed that Beast Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Adri­aan Strauss, Coe­nie Oosthuizen, Pi­eter-Steph du Toit, Mar­cell Coet­zee, Siya Kolisi, Han­dré Pol­lard, Pat Lam­bie and Jan Ser­fontein had also been con­tracted and could look for­ward to com­pet­i­tive salaries in line with those of Boks play­ing over­seas.

Saru con­firmed on Fri­day it would re­lease more in­for­ma­tion soon. Only then would it be pos­si­ble to get a bet­ter idea of the ex­act term of the con­tracts.

After his per­for­mance in the Rugby Cham­pi­onship and the World Cup, Jesse Kriel should also have signed a joint con­tract.

Arno Botha, Mar­cel van der Merwe and Rudy Paige are other play­ers Saru would have talked to about a con­tract.

Oupa Mo­hoje, Lwazi Mvovo and Cobus Reinach’s union con­tracts could be im­proved by Saru to make it more fi­nan­cially worth­while for them to choose to play their rugby in South Africa for longer.

Wil­lie le Roux is play­ing his rugby for the Sharks, but be­cause he’s go­ing back to Canon Ea­gles, his Ja­panese club team, at the end of 2016, he’ll only be con­sid­ered for a joint con­tract from 2017.

The po­si­tion of play­ers such as Lionel Mapoe, Faf de Klerk, El­ton Jan­tjies, War­ren White­ley, Nizaam Carr, Franco Mostert and Scarra Ntubeni is still un­cer­tain.

The ini­tial plan was that joint con­tracts would be of­fered to about 45 top play­ers, but that turned out to be fi­nan­cially im­pos­si­ble.

More­over, Saru could not pre­vent sev­eral se­nior play­ers, in­clud­ing Duane Ver­meulen and the Du Plessis broth­ers, Bis­marck and Jan­nie, from go­ing to play over­seas.

Ver­meulen was even of­fered the Spring­bok cap­taincy should he stay, but his con­tract with Toulon, es­ti­mated to to­tal R45 mil­lion over three years, is far more than Saru can match.

Although Saru gets a big­ger say over its Boks with the joint con­tracts, it still doesn’t have the sole say, as is the case in New Zealand, with its cen­tral con­tracts.

Saru’s con­tri­bu­tion to the joint con­tracts is dif­fer­ent for ev­ery player. In some cases, Saru might pay up to 70% or even more of a player’s con­tract and, in other cases, less.

The play­ers’ re­spec­tive unions con­trib­ute the rest of their con­tracts. The New Zealand Rugby Union pays 100% of its cen­tral con­tracts.

Nev­er­the­less, these de­vel­op­ments are seen as a ma­jor leap for­ward in guar­an­tee­ing that the big names still play Su­per Rugby for South African teams. With these con­tracts, Saru is also hop­ing to con­vince promis­ing young play­ers to play their rugby here.

A Saru spokesper­son told Rap­port the ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil had to make a de­ci­sion on whether over­seas play­ers would still be con­sid­ered for the Bok team in fu­ture. It’s even pos­si­ble that from now, re­stric­tions could be placed on the num­ber of over­seas play­ers the Spring­bok coach may con­sider for the team.

The de­ci­sion on whether an over­seas player like Ver­meulen or Fran­cois Louw would in fu­ture be al­lowed to cap­tain the Boks would have to be taken by the gen­eral coun­cil, the Saru spokesper­son said.

Dur­ing the World Cup, Fourie du Preez be­came the Boks’ first over­seas cap­tain.


VALU­ABLE Saru has moved fast to se­cure a con­tract with

Damian de Al­lende


AS­SET Trevor Nyakane has also signed on

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