Former Springbok centre and assistant coach Brendan Venter says SA Rugby’s new contracting system could damage the growth of the game in the country.
In January, SA Rugby announced that dozens of home-based players will be taken into Springbok succession planning in 2020 as part of a ‘radical’ new contracting strategy.
Players will be ranked by position – with next-generation talent also brought into a significantly widened pool funded by SA Rugby. Those who are plying their trade in South Africa will receive top-up payments from their provinces.
‘The plan for the new strategy from SA Rugby could see as many as 75 players in Springbok succession planning being financially rewarded for it. While the top tier will benefit from the new policy, the bottom tier will fall by the wayside.
‘I believe the men in suits are making an unbelievable mistake by taking the money they save and giving it to the big boys in the form of match fees. Top players are already well compensated by their clubs and the personnel that want to play for South Africa are going to do so anyway.
‘I’m not saying you should be out of pocket playing for South Africa, but why plough the money back into the Springboks and overpay senior national players? If you choose to go overseas, you are making good money already.
‘If you play for Saracens, for argument’s sake, and head away on Test duty they don’t stop paying you. Many teams will keep paying the players, even if they are away. I feel the money can be better spent on developing the conveyor belt of talent in order to aid South African rugby’s long-term future.’