New era for SA rugby

The massive deal between Namibian prop Kees Lensing and the Sharks could be the start of a new money-spinning era in professional rugby in South Africa.

Pretoria sports promoter Willem Strauss told the Beeld that the big unions could cut down on the number of contracted players, but offer them far more enticing contracts to ensure they stay in the country.

He says it could also result in players finishing their careers here, while more foreign stars may be enticed to come and play in SA.

Lensing has reportedly signed with the Sharks for R1,5-million per year for the next three years. “It seems as if unions want to get rid of two or three average players to use that money to contract one super star. Obviously it’s not that simple, especially now that the Springboks will only play in a few Currie Cup matches in the next two seasons, but I nevertheless think this is what’s going to happen,” Strauss told Beeld.

“If it does happen that the big unions offer contracts to fewer players, it could obviously have a positive outcome for the smaller unions who could snap up the fringe players. The unions’ budgets for players won’t change and they will offer contracts to fewer players if they want to pay the top guys more.”

“The other possibility is the Australian system. The Wallabies are contracted by their provinces for just six months and then they change over to national contracts.

“Why would a province have a player on his books and he’s just available six months of the Super 14 series? You can even go a step further, where the top players can decide later on in their careers to play for their provinces only and not make themselves available for the Boks.”