Mallett: Pay Boks more!

Nick Mallett (Gallo Images)
Nick Mallett (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett believes the reason for the exodus of South Africa’s top players is due to players putting their careers at risk without proper compensation.

Speaking to BallzRadio's website, Mallett said the first reason players left was due to players being underpaid relative to other sporting codes.

“In America, in baseball, basketball and American football, teams pay up to 50% of their total take towards professional sportsmen’s salaries.

“South African rugby earns in the region of R700m and they pay their players approximately R250m (35%), but they should be earning in the region of 40-50%. We are paying our players short and that’s why our players are looking at overseas contracts,” Mallett said.

Mallett said that the provincial system of rugby in South Africa was financially inefficient and competitions like the Vodacom Cup should be shelved, to free up funds for top tier rugby players.

“There are 14 professional unions who have all got the same amount of votes. The smaller unions exist on hand-outs from SARU.

“If the smaller unions can’t attract top sponsor, can’t get people to watch the game, can’t pay their transport costs and their players’ salaries are such that they cannot afford to run a union, then I don’t see why SARU should keep bolstering them with their financial support every year.

“The professional arm of rugby has to be run by businesses and by television rights and big sponsors, there is no place for a professional team that can’t sustain itself.”

Mallett said that player burnout and the high risk of career-ending injuries due to a hectic playing schedule was another key factor and said that moving towards a central-contracting system like that of New Zealand was the answer.

“In New Zealand, centrally-contracted professionals like Dan Carter will only play nine Super Rugby games for the Crusaders, 10 Tests for the All Blacks and then won’t even play in the NPC (NZ version of the Currie Cup).

“Dan Carter will be protected and will only play 20-25 games in a season, whereas (injured former Springbok) Schalk Burger will play every Super Rugby game, every Springbok Test and then he will go to his province and try to win the Currie Cup, and there’s nothing he can do because he is being paid by two paymasters, both of whom are demanding their pound of flesh,” Mallett said.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you agree with Nick Mallett? Are South Africa's rugby players under paid? Send your thoughts to Sport24
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