SA rugby exodus to gain speed
SURVEY: ALARMING AMOUNT OF SA PLAYERS LOOK ABROAD
Astaggering 90% of South African rugby players are signing a deal to play professional rugby overseas within the next two years or are at least considering the possibility, according to the results of a definitive survey conducted by the players’ union MyPlayers.
The survey, which was conducted through in-person interviews and online questionnaires, took place in 2019 and only senior franchise players, Springboks and Blitzboks were interviewed, while an online survey was sent to all professional rugby players in South Africa. The survey was requested by the players themselves and 125 of them were sampled. The results indicated that nine out of 10 players were looking to go overseas and 87% of them would consider playing for their adopted country if they became eligible.
The opportunity to earn more money was cited as the biggest driving force for emigration by 51% of the “leavers”, with the political situation (18%), experiencing different cultures (10%), transformation (9%) and more game time (8%) paling into insignificance as motivating factors.
One Super Rugby veteran revealed that he had earned more money playing for two years in France than he did in the seven preceding years playing in South Africa.
But most players interviewed also expressed dissatisfaction that South African franchises generally don’t offer contracts lasting more than two years and that new deals were often only offered at the last minute.
South African players have also thrown their weight behind a proposal for a set four-year cycle for international rugby. This would offer fans something different every year without diluting existing properties.
A majority of players (77%) also wanted the Currie Cup to be revived as an elite tournament, with the added incentive of it being a qualification pathway into European club competitions.
The return of Super Rugby to a 14-team round-robin format was approved by 84% of South African professionals, while Cheetahs and Southern Kings players have enjoyed playing in the Top 14,
EXODUS. Professional rugby players in South Africa could follow in the footsteps of South African-born CJ Stander who now plays for Ireland.