South Africa overhauls rugby contracts to keep players home

Officials say the rand is too weak and the economy of South African rugby too small to compete
Africa Rugby News
South Africa’s Lions full back Andries Coetzee (2nd-R) is tackled by Argentina’s Jaguares half scrum Gonzalo Bertranou (R) during their Super Rugby match at Jose Amalfitani stadium in Buenos Aires, on February 16, 2019. (Photo by ALEJANDRO PAGNI / AFP)

South Africa Rugby announced a radical contract overhaul on Saturday in a move designed to reverse the trend of talented players leaving the country.

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus said the existing model had to be “disrupted”.

“We have been agonising over how to keep players in the country since the game went professional more than 20 years ago,” Erasmus said.

“And the bottom line is that the rand is too weak and the economy of South African rugby too small to compete.

“A South African player can earn more from a two-month contract in Japan than he can if he were to win the World Cup with the Springboks this year. That’s the reality we have to face up to.

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“Once we have done our work, the new strategy could see as many as 75 players in Springbok succession planning and being financially rewarded for it.

“We had to disrupt the model.”

A SA Rugby statement explained the changes “will see the current Springbok contracting model turned on its head, the 30-cap rule for overseas-based players scrapped and overseas clubs warned Regulation 9 will be rigorously enforced.”

Regulation 9 deals with when and how frequently club players must be released for international duty.

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