There are many questions being raised, surrounding the issue brought forward by the inevitable inclusion of the Kings to super rugby in next year’s competition. SANZAR CEO , Greg Peters, has made it undoubtedly clear that South Africa will not be allowed to field 6 teams and this now leaves us with a major issue as the SARU executive council has already voted them in. The last thing we want is to lose some “big name” players to over sea’s clubs, nor do we want to see the GLRU deteriorate.
A few options have been suggested, such as a promotion-relegation play off; a merger between the lions and kings or simply relegation. To me, relegation is not an option and we should be forced to adopt a suitable solution for the best interest of all unions as well as SA Rugby.
Many people think that the CATS never worked because of location, a clash of style and the different cultures these unions possess. Well let’s break it down and tackle each debate separately. Location – Yes it’s a long tournament and no player wants to reside in another city for the duration of the competition, but the simple fact is they’re on the road for half the time in any case. Why not play half their home games in Bloemfontein and the other half in Johannesburg? Or, the Union generates enough capital to pay the players enough to commute. It’s either that or not playing any Super Rugby at all, so take it or leave it! In terms of a playing style, are they really that different? They both seem to enjoy a loose game, using the width of the field. But game plans do change, it’s rugby after all! For those who may be moaning about culture and/or the difference in style, how do you think the national coaches manage to create a winning formula with players from five or six different regions? So there you have it, problem solved. Well at least I think so.
Another concern would be the selection of coaching staff. What would happen to John Mitchell, Naka Drotske and their respective sub-ordinates? I don’t have an immediate solution for them, but if it were up to me I would bring in someone fresh. Let someone with no ties to either side, take over. At least team selection would be fair and neutral. Fresh ideas and fresh start will be very important for the unions’ success. John Mitchell has been quoted in saying, “Yes, I think it could work, given the right man was selected.” My choice would be Nick Mallett – A great coach, with a unique blend of experience and vision. He is one of the most respected coaches in South Africa. Best of all, he’s free!
Here’s and interesting look at what the CATS match 22 could be, given all players were available(and injury free): for arguments sake.
1.Coenie Oosthuizen 2. Adriaan Strauss( c ) 3.CJ van der Linde 4.Franco van der Merwe 5.Andries Ferreira 6.Heinruch Brussouw 7.Josh Strauss ( vc ) 8.Warren Whiteley 9. Michael Bondesio 10.Johan Goosen 11.Willie le Roux 12.Andries Strauss 13.Robert Ebersohn 14.Lionel Mapoe 15.Jaco Taute
16. Callie Visagie/Bandise Maku 17. WP Nel/Pat Cilliers/Trevor Nyakane 18. Cobus Crobelaar 19. Phillip Van der Walt/Justin Downey 20. Tiaan Meyer 21. Elton Jantjies/Sias Ebersohn 22.Hennie Daniller/Michael Killian
With the players and staff available to them, the CATS could definitely be a force to be reckoned with. They will just have to come to terms with a few minor adjustments. They have the infrastructure, the facilities, coaching options and a tremendous player pool (with a good mix of youth and experience).
What do you think???