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One small step for SARU

Whilst SARU have made some good calls recently, there is no doubt that there is still room for improvement in terms of player management.


The decision to keep the 20 contracted Boks out of the Currie Cup was definitely the right way to go but there are still a few issues which shows that the system is in need of some refinement. 


First of all there is the farce of having the likes of Coenie Oosthuizen and JJ Engelbrecht who are out of favour at the Springbok camp in Stellenbosch when they would ideally be playing Currie Cup to try and find some form.


Then there are the contracted players like Damian de Allende and Siya Kolisi who have done little more than carry tackle bags and would also benefit from playing Currie Cup to earn their place on the tour to Europe in November.


The system actually makes things easier for Currie Cup coaches who now know exactly what they have to work with on a level playing field.


Previously they had no option but to play their battered Boks, which would often be more disruptive than anything else, but now they can focus on taking the same group of players through to the play-offs.


A central contracting system, such as the one used by the only country above South Africa on the world rankings, would be the preferred choice of many players such as Bok captain Jean de Villiers.


Considering the encouraging signs shown by SARU in keeping the Boks out of the Currie Cup, perhaps a central contracting system for the top professional rugby players in South Africa is something that will eventually happen.


That would put us in the position where common sense could be applied to the situation and the players who need rest would get it, with the same applying to those who need game-time.


Unfortunately it seems that it is not as simple as just that, and either way we would have to expect a slow evolution rather than a sudden and drastic change to the way things operate.


But perhaps one day, we will have a system in South African rugby that truly does have the best interests of all the players covered.


By Michael de Vries


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