August 20, 2013 in Uncategorized
I just read Baylion’s take on a book and an article regarding the unprofessional manner in which rugby in South Africa is being run at the moment. (http://blogs.sport24.co.za/thepride/2013/08/20/springbok-factory/) To be honest, I weren’t familiar with Liz McGregor or her works before I read Baylion’s post, so thanks.
A few months ago, I read an article where Nick Mallet also said that SARU should drop the smaller unions in order for more money to be made available to pay the Boks with and try to keep them from leaving the country. (http://blogs.sport24.co.za/gertbloues/2013/05/09/look-at-the-whole-picture-mr-mallet/) In that post, I explained the current situation in Griquas, where I often have to travel over long distances to handle matches. If it wasn’t for the fact that Griquas refunded my traveling costs, there wouldn’t be a chance that I, or any of the other refs at our union, would have made the trip to Kenhardt, Askham or any of the other destinations. I am sure this is the same situation at every other union.
I know that the Springboks are the highest level of rugby in South Africa and we need them to be competitive and keep winning if we want to be taken seriously in world rugby, but getting the national side to play decent rugby is just one of the objectives of the game in South Africa. In the article I read that SARU get’s about R700 million mainly through sponsorships each year. Of this money, only 10% makes it’s way to the national players. The rest are mainly paid to the provincial unions, of which some of them barely produce Springboks. It’s a fact that some of the bigger rugby schools in the country spot potential talent at under 13 levels already and then these players start attending these schools. I already know of a very talented under 14 flyhalf in Upington who will be attending Gray Bloem next year. If that boy eventually does become a Springbok, he will add to Gray’s and the Free State’s list of Springboks and Griquas wont receive any credit and rightfully so. That boy hone his skills at one of the best rugby schools in the world and than he’ll join any of the accredited youth academies after school. Griquas wouldn’t have any hand in his development because this was done by his school which is funded by tax money, school fees and sponsorship. So, taking Griquas out of the equation would hardly halt the development of talented players to maybe one day play for the Boks. Thus having an extra R45 million available to try and keep Springbok players in the country would make sense.
But rugby in South Africa is also about these guys. (http://blogs.sport24.co.za/gertbloues/2013/07/21/worth-the-trip/) I have no illusions about any of these guys even playing for Griquas, never mind becoming Boks one day. It just wont happen. Many of them are over thirty and just don’t have the skills or abilities to play rugby at the highest level. Does this mean that Saru should scrap the tournament that they are playing in? Must they use a local referee or find someone willing to make the trip on his own cost?
There wasn’t even a cover charge to attend the match because most people in the town simply don’t even have a R5 to spare to pay to watch their home team play. Do you really think that rugby matches at the countryside should be scrapped just so Juandre Kruger can get and extra few hundred rands in his account instead of letting some Japanese side pay his salary?
Rugby has a bigger responsibility than simply letting the national side win. Rugby needs to teach young people the values they don’t necessarily learn at home. It needs to give them the opportunity to be part of something bigger and maybe give them the opportunity to make a living out of the game. The void left by Kruger when he left the Bulls opened the door for someone else to show his worth. This opportunity opened up at every level below right down to the reserve under 19 lock. Thus it opened up opportunities for more players to make a living out of the game at the expense of some Japanese, French or English club.