Look at the whole picture, Mr Mallet
May 9, 2013 in Uncategorized
For past few seasons, every time a player leaves the country or someone gets injured after playing his 30th game in a row, the words central contracting and All Blacks are being flung around at studio and braaivleis vuur discussions around the country.
Nick Mallet is the latest expert to voice his opinion. (http://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/Springboks/Mallett-Pay-Boks-more-20130509)
Although I agree with Mallet that a lighter playing load and a better paycheck might convince the top players to stick around for a while, I don’t agree with him on where those funds should come from. His suggestion that SARU should stop funding the smaller unions will be the death of rugby in this country.
At the moment, you can watch a rugby match anywhere in the country and you can be sure that there would be sufficient medical personnel available, the coaches are trained in a manner that enables them to put the safety of the players first and the match is handled by a referee that is registered at his provincial union, who is Boksmart certified and has the support of a regional referees union that meets regularly to discuss the laws of the game and help train new referees.
At least this is how things are being run at Griquas right now.
When a match is being played in Rietfontein, 300km from Upington close to the Namibiam border, Boksmart dictates that the match must be handled by accredited officials in a safe environment. This means that the referee as well as the coaches must be able to recognize a potential life threatening situation on field and act accordingly. The field of play must also adhere to certain safety standards and the correct medical equipment must be on hand and handled by medically trained staff to prevent neck and spinal injuries.
The clubs in these areas do not have access to the necessary funds to provide this. The referee alone must travel all the way from Upington, a 600km round trip, just to handle the match. Where will this money come from?
At the moment, when I am asked to travel to Kenhardt to ref a rugby match, I just submit a form to the Griquas Rugby Union and my travel allowance is paid into my account a day later, SARU supplied them with the full medical equipment neccesary and the medic is paid by Griquas as well. Game on!
Now, I know if these people are as passionate about rugby as they make us believe, the game would be played no matter what equipment is available or whoever handles the match. But at least now the game can go on in an environment that’s safe and nobody gets killed.
Regarding the Vodacom Cup, I was in Kimberley once when they beat the Bulls in the Vodacom Cup final and believe me, to these folks it did matter. The reason why we don’t see people at these stadiums is because we are spoiled with top notch rugby from all over the world on our tv sets, so why go out and watch Upington play Kimberley police or even Griquas play the Leopards? That’s the situation, and it won’t change.
We are a country with that delivers some of the best players and by far the best referees in the world. We are also a country that needs to deal with a difficult geographical profile. So far we have managed to deal with this situation as is proven by two World Cup victories out of five attempts. We are doing well.
Regarding the players leaving the country, we seem to have that one covered by only selecting overseas based players that really makes a difference a la Francois Louw. We also have an excellent conveyor belt of talent thanks to SARU giving back to rugby at ground level.
We are fine. Unlike New Zealand that has to milk the All Black brand for all that it’s worth just so their union can break even and Australia that has to compete with three other sporting codes.