The contracted Boks have been made unavailable for the Currie Cup play-offs. Tank Lanning and Zelím Nel debate whether these players be turning out for their provinces this weekend or not?
Tank Lanning – YES
Well, it’s a moot point given that the contracted Boks can only play 28 games per year, with Tests out ranking Vodacom Super Rugby games, so most of those contracted players going on the EOYT have already reached their match quota.
That said, this national contract – for player welfare reasons, also precludes players from popping to Japan or Europe in the South African off-season in order to top up their bank accounts.
So with Eben Etzebeth seemingly set to do exactly that at Saracens this year, is the contract even worth the paper it is written on? And will two Currie Cup games at a time when they will be training in any case, really make a difference?
I am sure my esteemed colleague, Mr Nel, will have them cocooned in a camp learning to “Play the new Bok way” before they head to the frozen land, but given the amount of players not available for the tour for various reasons, and the lack of real game plan on display, what difference will this make?
The Currie Cup is bleeding – it’s as if everything has been done to try and kill it off – yet it remains a key component of the SA rugby calendar. Let’s use this opportunity to give it the shot in the arm it needs (and deserves) and have our top players turn out in the playoffs.
A refreshing break from what must be a fairly turgid Bok environment is exactly what these players need. As is the confidence boost they would get from playing at a level below Test rugby.
Not to mention us fans and the new Currie Cup sponsors deserving to see our top players in action in return for our hard earned cash!