White is Right
August 21, 2013 in Uncategorized
Listening to Ballz Radio (I suggest you do if you love sport) and hearing Jake White’s opinion on whether overseas-based players should be allowed to be play for the Springboks, begs the question: when will it end?
What message is that saying to the youngsters? It”s fine, go earn hard currency in Europe because you’ll still be elligible for the Springboks.
Jake is right in saying that if this carries on, the goose that lays the golden egg will effectively be killed off. Our ‘rugby factory’ will surrender to the lure of the pound, leaving a watered down pool of players to run our rugby competitions into the ground. I don’t think the broadcasters and their sponsors would be too happy to plough money into that.
The Springbok team that played Argentina consisted of ten overseas-based players. Now while SARU must ensure that our best players must don the green and gold, surely they must ensure that our wonderful rugby factory – our proud rugby-playing schools – do not allow schoolboys, as young as 16, to sign overseas contracts and therefore dilute our U/19, U/20, Vodacom and Varsity Cup structures.
Yes, there is the argument that, “well if they want to go, then fine, it just means that more talent will come to the fore.” If you believe that, then you are deluded because the high level of rugby from U/19 schoolboy to provincial level will suffer dramatically.
Those players in the second tier of our rugby structures will make the step up – rendering the already-watered down Currie Cup to Vodacom Cup level with quotas.
You can’t tell me that all those European clubs cannot wait to sign Rhule, Kolbe, Kolisi, Catrakillis, SP Marais, Etzebeth, Serfontein, Engelbrecht, Willie le Roux and Lambie? That’s just the tip of the iceberg because all the others are already gone.
Last year, one of my favourites from the Currie Cup left for Ireland. The Bulls flanker CJ Stander was brilliant right from the start. He’s gone too. How many more CJ Standers are going to leave in the next four years?
Perhaps SARU should start a contingency plan right now and not in ten years’ time – in order to solve this cancer which has the potential to ruin our proud rugby heritage.
My only proposal right now is to permit European-based players that are over 26 years old to be eligible for Springbok selection.
Interesting times ahead.
Here’s a link to the White interview on Ballz Radio: http://www.ballz.co.za/sport/jake-white-on-playing-overseas-and-for-the-springboks/2682