Stormers head coach John Dobson says the Western Province Rugby hierarchy has done well to set it up to survive the break in the season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Reports from England have stated that a number of Premiership clubs – as well as the RFU – have instituted pay cuts in order to cope with the financial impact of the coronavirus.
England coach Eddie Jones has reportedly taken a pay cut of over 25%, while four top-flight clubs – including Saracens and Gloucester – announced 25% cuts in player and staff salaries.
While the financial impact on South African franchises has yet to be disclosed, WP Rugby’s well-documented financial struggles will have had fans worrying over the impact of the break of the season.
However, Dobson moved to ease fears on Wednesday as he said there was no concern yet over job security issues.
‘With regard to Western Province and the Stormers our leadership – and it’s not a popular narrative – have done incredibly well,’ Dobson said. ‘The guys are feeling safe. There’s no job security issues. We have been communicating well. They have done really well to make us as resilient as possible.
‘I am not just saying that. If you speak to one of our players now, they would say that they are not worried about it. I think if this goes on for a long time, obviously one expects – as has happened around the world – some form of adjustment or pay cut.
‘We have been in touch with MyPlayers and they have been in touch with our players. So, I think from our local point of view, guys are feeling good in terms of job security. To be on your own and be insecure, it would be very challenging. So I think our leadership has done well there.’
An unforeseen impact of the pandemic could have a number of top players returning to the country due to the current insecurity, not only over wages, but also over players’ families.
This was something that was pointed out by former Springbok coach Jake White shortly after he was appointed as Vodacom Bulls director of rugby.
Dobson mirrored White’s view as he said there could be fewer opportunities for players to head overseas as European clubs recover from the financial impact of the break in the season.
‘I don’t want to be like a vulture picking at the carcass, but you are going to see less options overseas,’ Dobson added. ‘That could help our local market correct. So, if a player comes to you with a £4-million offer from Northampton, then we don’t have to get into those wars.
‘I think you are going to see some guys returning because society is going to be different. We are going to see whatever the reverse of globalisation is. There is going to be increased supply in the local market, so that will obviously impact on prices. It could help our local rugby’s domestic economy adjust a bit.’
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