Boks, Saru in cash row

2012-04-28 00:00

CAPE TOWN — A dispute over the allocation of money towards Springbok rugby players is threatening to disrupt the preparations ahead of the June England series.

Beeld reported that the South African Rugby Union (Saru) and the South African Rugby Players’ Association (Sarpa) have been at loggerheads, with the players unhappy that too much of the money allocated to the national team will be held back by their provincial unions.

Saru and Sarpa held negotiations to try to resolve the issue, but an agreement could not be reached.

Springboks Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger defended the players’ interests.

The case will now be resolved by an arbitrator.

Beeld was told that South Africa’s five Super franchises, unlike in previous years, decided they would keep a portion of the money they’ll receive from Saru and would not allocate the full amount to their Springbok players — this supposedly to compensate them for the times they won’t have the services of their Springboks.

However, the players are apparently unhappy with this and believe the full amount should be allocated to them.

Saru CEO Jurie Roux was understandably upset, especially with a Springbok series against England looming for new coach Heyneke Meyer, but he is nevertheless confident that the issue will be resolved before the England series.

Sarpa CEO Piet Heymans said the total amount of money allocated was not the issue.

“It’s about how it will be distributed. We agreed on the total amount, but not the way the money will be allocated.

“We [the players] thus do not want more, just a shift in how it will be allocated.”

Sarpa was founded in 1998 as a union that negotiates on behalf of professional rugby players in South Africa.

It represents the players’ rights at Saru as well as playing a leading role in significant issues like insurance, medical aid and life skills for young and up-and-coming players.

Sharks hooker Bismarck du Plessis is the president of Sarpa and the Bulls’ Chiliboy Ralepelle the vice-president.

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