CJ van der Linde turned down the chance to sign a Springbok contract, but Saru have pencilled in the names of 19 other Boks for 2009.
It has been reported that Van der Linde – who plays for Leinster - was keen on a comeback to South Africa for the British & Irish Lions tour, but he failed to indicate by today’s deadline whether he would return.
The Sharks have the most contracted players with seven, while others includes the likes of senior Boks such as Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield, Juan Smith, Bakkies Botha, Bryan Habana and Jean de Villiers.
The players are contracted to a remuneration structure that will run until 2011, although players will only be contracted on an annual basis. Non-contracted players will be encouraged to work their way into the group.
“The players’ input into this process was extremely positive,” said Andy Marinos, SA Rugby manager of national teams and acting managing director in a statement.
“We met SARPA [South African Rugby Players’ Association] in 2007 to decide on a remuneration model for the players until the next Rugby World Cup. The principle was to establish a new way for contracting as well as avoid the ‘last minute discussions’ we’d previously had with SARPA on the eve of end-season tours,” he said.
“SA Rugby held talks with representatives of SARPA – including senior Springbok players – and also two managing directors of the Vodacom Super 14 franchises. Our negotiations were centred on a performance-based model that was also incentivised for the non-contracted players. The old model was beneficial to those select few that had contracts, while the non-contracted players received only a daily allowance and their match fees.”
“We also wanted to recognise the difference between Tier I and Tier II Test nations – in the past the same match fees were paid for both.”
Contracted Springbok players for 2009
Sharks : JP Pietersen, Adrian Jacobs, Ruan Pienaar, John Smit, Bismarck du Plessis, Frans Steyn, Tendai Mtawarira.
Xerox Golden Lions : Jaque Fourie
Vodacom Free State Cheetahs : Juan Smith
Vodacom Blue Bulls : Fourie Du Preez, Victor Matfield, Pierre Spies, Bryan Habana, Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha
Vodacom Stormers : Conrad Jantjes, Enrico Januarie, Jean de Villiers, Schalk Burger
The model for 2008 to 2011 was agreed as:
Contracted Players : SA Rugby will contract a minimum of 10 players and a maximum of 24 – depending on financial and playing resources.
Squad Fees : All players selected for a Vodacom Inbound, Vodacom Tri-Nations and End-of-year Tour will receive an assembly fee.
Match Fees : All players will be paid match fees and win bonuses depending on whether an opponent is from a Tier I (top six) or Tier II nation. The ranking of opponents will be based on the IRB rankings as at June of each year.