‘Saru must offer central contracts’

SARugbymag.co.za's panel of experts on what Saru can do to limit the player exodus to overseas-based clubs.

BREYTON PAULSE (former Stormers and Bok wing)

'Saru cannot only select locally-based players for the Boks as the pool of players in South Africa isn't strong enough. We need overseas-based players such as Bryan Habana and Francois Louw, and Heyneke Meyer has no choice but to select them. It's also difficult for young talent to reject lucrative deals overseas. In the modern game, loyalty is non-existent. Saru should offer players big-money central contracts. After the World Cup, players will definitely be offered contracts abroad that will be hard to turn down. A player like Jaque Fourie, who has achieved his goal of winning a World Cup, opted not to return to the Boks because of his earnings in Japan. These central contracts are long overdue. Duane Vermeulen will be the prime target of overseas clubs post the World Cup. Saru must meet with him to discuss his future plans and negotiate with him. Saru should also be talking to youngsters like Pat Lambie and Handré Pollard as they are our future.'

CORNÉ KRIGE (former Stormers and Bok captain)

'The best Springbok squad should be selected, whether the players are based in South Africa, France, the UK or Japan. Saru shouldn't adopt New Zealand and Australia's system of only selecting locally-based players. Certain positions in the Bok team are occupied by players plying their trade overseas and by not selecting them and selecting second-choice players, the Springbok squad will be weakened. Saru's plan to implement a 90-day moratorium is a very good one and should've happened a long time ago.'

KOBUS WIESE (Former Lions and Bok lock)

'There's nothing Saru can do to stop or reduce the number of players going abroad. And you can't expect players to turn down deals in euros, pounds or yens in favour of the weak rand. We're in the professional era now and these are players' jobs. Saru definitely mustn't go back to picking only locally-based players for the Boks. The best players should make the squad, like in soccer where players ply their trade all over the world. And while the new 90-day moratorium is a good idea in theory, I'm not sure how practical it will be. We also tend to forget there are certain positives when players go overseas. In Japan, they play fewer matches for more money, pick up fewer injuries and end up extending their careers. In South Africa, they play Super Rugby and travel extensively during that seven-month period, and then are required to play in the Currie Cup, so it's no wonder some players fail to recuperate fully after injuries. Perhaps the best option for Saru is to sit around the table with the franchises and provinces, and work out a rotation and management policy for players in the national set-up as well as the youngsters identified by the governing body.'

OLLIE LE ROUX (former Sharks, Cheetahs, Stormers and Bok prop)

'Saru must manage the players properly. A system of loaning players to overseas clubs while they are contracted to Saru should be adopted. This will ensure the development of the players, who will familiarise themselves with conditions worldwide. Players would be contracted to Saru for five to 10 years, and treated as assets by Saru. Saru could also implement a mentoring system involving former players. They would help guide players and their careers, seeking the best possible career option in terms of player development and financial benefits. Saru also needs to liaise with the unions about player welfare.' 

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Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images