Having read the article by Mr Houwing in the Sport section reporting on the concerns our current Bok coach is having about young talented players being lured away from the Green and Gold got me thinking, why are these young men leaving and how can we keep them here?
The answer is to the first part of the question above is probably an easy one, rugby players only have about 10 years to apply their trade and have to earn enough money to ensure a better future for their families for the next 40 odd years. The answer to the latter part of the question should probably be one of the biggest priorities SARU should have and this should not be taken lightly. We need to keep young talented players in South Africa, we need to show these guys that we as a country and SARU as an organisation have an interest in their future and that of their families.
· Have a global season; rugby should be played throughout the world over the same period of time. It’s a bitter pill to swallow hearing about players complaining about a long season whilst Northern teams are fresh.
· Shorten the Super Rugby series to only have 4 teams from each country, relegation matches do apply at the end of the season to teams that win a pre-relegation playoff series that is as short as possible with as little as possible interference from anyone, especially politicians and self-righteous gold-diggers.
· We need to have more 3 test match series’ to be played with mid-week games, with as many non-test players included in the starting 15, including test reserves.
· All test playing countries should have a competitive, touring “B-team” that will compete against each other in “tests”. These tests should be held in such a high regard that it must be an honor to play for these B-teams. They should have adequate PR work, coverage, impressive coaching and great looking cheerleaders ;-) This could prove as breeding ground for the international teams. I remember back n school it was almost a greater honor/pleasure playing for the Sekkies than the first team….why was that? Less pressure? Greater camaraderie? A more open enjoyable playing style?
· We need proper selectors that should interact with media and with the public on why certain players are picked and others left out. The coach’s job should be to coach the players that the panel of selectors pick to play.
· The Bok team should have a proper team-manager or at least a media liaison that can act as link between the team and the media/public (someone like Bobby Skinstadt, Breyton Paulse or even Ashwin Willemse maybe).
I can probably go as far as to say that we as the rugby watching public would like to see more quality rugby and not as much rugby as possible. Our players are certainly not managed correctly, as we can see with our current captain going on tour with an obvious injury. This being the reason why we have goons playing in the curry cup that shouldn’t even be allowed in a bar fight, as the main reason for them being there is to make watching the games about as much pleasure as a weed-eater to your bottom lip.