Front Row Grunt

Rugby … with cauliflower ears

cake-and-eat-it

Players having cake and eating it

So Morné Steyn has signed a 3 year deal with Stade Francais, but has not given up on his Bok No 10 jersey. No need says Tank Lanning, given the current “Cake and eat it” selection policy …

Bryan Habana departs for Toulon later this year, but neither his nor Steyn’s move is really big news given that Bok coach Heyneke Meyer seems very happy to pick SA player plying their trade overseas.

So players can earn their Euros, Pounds or Yen, yet still also represent their country …

Makes sense to most people. Why not select the best team available? But I disagree …

I don’t begrudge players (and coaches) seeking financial security overseas, and actually believe many come back from overseas stints as better players with new ideas worth implementing. Also, South Africa cannot accommodate all the talent we produce, so for players to seek selection and money overseas is understandable. But you should do so in the understanding that you lose the right to fight for a Bok jersey …

Two practical reasons:

1 – Unlike football, where selecting overseas based players is the norm, there is no international season, and the style of play differs massively from country to country. The Bok coach has enough trouble trying to get the SA franchise coaches to play to a national style, and play players in the positions he would like to see them play, not to have to worry about the guys playing overseas.

2 -Picking a player who plays his provincial rugby in the SA summer to play for the Boks in winter is asking for trouble. Player management seems to be just talk these days, but apart from overseas based players pitching for the Boks in poor shape, not giving them an off season just shortens their career.

In South Africa we tend to obsess with experience and the older players, and lose sight of the unbelievable young talent on our doorstep. Natural churn will see players migrate overseas. I say we should see that as an opportunity to look after the young guys coming through the local systems.

Also, staying in one’s own country to play one of the national sports builds pride in not only the sport, but the national team and jersey. It represents part of the sacrifice a player is willing to make in order to play for the Springboks

Author: Tank

Ex WP prop with a fair amount of experience in all things media ...

2 Comments

  1. I totally agree; we fortunate that our cricket stars do not seek overseas contracts (besides a short IPL season), but look at the talent drain we have still lost to the English team due to no position opening up in the staring XI.

    Our rugby talent pool was very much proven last year when WP and the Stormers brought (super) stars like Kolisie and Etzebeth into the fray. As a youngster, would you really give up the €, £ and ¥ if your position is tied up to a Bok playing overseas? If we lose a youngster straight out of high school due to this fact, the chances of him ever being spotted

  2. … Pressed post by mistake.

    ..by our Bok coach is slim to say the least. Not only will be have to watch every rugby game being played through out the world, he will also need the correct intel to inform him who is a SA citizen and thus eligible for a Bok call up. Even then, will the player then be able to handle the intensity of competition which the super xv prepares players for?

    Bad move HM