More Test retirements for money?

With the IRB reaffirming their and the clubs commitment to making players available for Test duty, Tank Lanning thinks we will see more Jaque Fourie type retirements.

The IRB released a statement today reaffirming Unions and professional leagues commitment to work with them to ensure that the best players are made available for their country if selected for international duty.

Under Regulation 9, clubs are obliged to release players for international duty during defined windows without financial or contractual impediment. But they believe more can be done to ensure that the best players are available for national selection.

They are committed to further exploring strategies in the areas of player, club and Union education, squad announcement, contractual obligations, including insurance, and non-compliance sanctions.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The principle of player release is at the very heart of the integrity of the international Game for the IRB and its 118 national Member Unions and players should not in any way be incentivised to forego representing their country if selected.”

“I am delighted that we have a collective commitment to identifying a tangible way forward to ensuring adherence to Regulation 9 and enabling the best players from all countries to continue to showcase their talents on the world’s biggest Rugby stages.”

This is all good and well for the European clubs who play their rugby at the similar times, but does not speak to our point re picking a player who plays his provincial rugby abroad in the SA summer to play for the Boks in winter. Player management seems to be just talk these days and not giving them an off season just shortens their career.

It also speaks to countries short on players such as Argentina and the Pacific Island sides, where not being able to select their top players playing in Europe severely weakens their side. But for countries such as New Zealand and South Africa, who have access to huge player pools, this is not the case.

So while clubs may not legally be able to have clauses in their contracts with players preventing them from playing International rugby, we might see more players “Retiring” from International rugby while earning their Yen or Euro … Much like Jaque Fourie and Fourie du Preez.

If I was paying a player in the region of R22 million for 3 seasons, I certainly would not want them taking on the All Blacks in their off-season!!


  1. It’s all to do with the insurance Tank. There is a big issue coming up in professional rugby about covering clubs and franchises for the ever increasing salary and medical bills.

    1. Aha, yes indeed. Also, medically, you could insist on players having an off-season in order to keep their insurance …

  2. I think this is the way the game will evolve internationally over the foreseeable future. Players will be making career decisions based on longevity. With increasing demands on players in top flight rugby it would not be a far stretch to say that in the coming years, decisions will be made between international careers and foreign club careers.

    A player who can earn more money by playing a regular season in the UK for instance will earn more than one playing in SA in the domestic season. While equally intense, the duration of the UK club season will be shorter and it give the player a possible option of extending their career by a few years.

    Another elephant in the room is politics and quotas in SA sport. Players will realistically have to look at the possibilities they may not make the Bok team. In this instance, it is entirely reasonable to expect them to want to earn money while they can, where they can.

    The days certainly have changed from the early 80’s where it was all about the green and gold, or the 90’s where winning the world cup was the greatest goal and achievement for any rugby player. Dont get me wrong, winning the world cup would still be top of the list for most, but in the meantime players do have to think about maximising all opportunities in what is to become effectively a career spanning 10 years if they are lucky.

    Player commitment is going to become more about financial gain than patriotism in the long run.

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