Contract top players SA Rugby told

SA Rugby should contract the country’s top players directly and manage them as a national asset.

This was the proposal in Parliament’s sport portfolio committee on Monday, Sapa reported.

“It is about time that SA Rugby does what the prevailing practice is in other parts of the world and take the responsibility to manage the national asset,” committee member Cedrick Frolick
proposed during a briefing on transformation by top SA Rugby officials.

“The top players… contract them and then give SA Rugby together with the selectors and the coach a bigger say in how this asset can be used best to advance our national agenda.”

Frolick said there was a structural fault in South African rugby, with wealthy unions attracting the best players. “The coach is complaining most of the top players are injured, he has difficulty getting co-operation from certain unions with regard to the resting of key players during certain times of the year.”

“It all points to something that must be wrong with regards to the contracting of our top players in South Africa,” he said. “If we continue to allow a situation that they are contracted the way they are contracted at the moment, and that is by the different unions and franchise holders, we will never address the problem.”

The current scenario was “not correct for this critical juncture in history”. “We will never achieve what we want to achieve if we simply leave it in the hands of big unions to decide.”

Bangilizwe Solo proposed the introduction of a standardised fee to stop the problem of player poaching. A plan must be developed to promote club rugby and ensure that players came from the communities whose clubs they represented on the field, he said.

Stipends paid to players in rich provinces like Gauteng would be higher than in others, attracting more players. “We must make it (the fee) equitable so we reduce this poaching,” Solo said.