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SARU new contracting system explained

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South African Rugby has announced a ground-breaking new contracting system which was announced on Friday.

Reading through their statement the key points are which you need to understand:

  1. Key outcomes of the agreement
  2. The player categories
  3. Squad size and player salary bill

It sounds like a mouth full but in simple terms it is easy to understand. I took the option to phone a friend to explain this better.

In the past about R60 million was spend on about 15 players in a tri-party contract where SARU paid the major share of the contract value.

In the new contracting system these players will only have a franchise contract where SARU will only supplement the top players.

The new system also helps the Unions with these contracts because they will have less players on their books since the U19 and U21 competitions are no more.

Less professional players means the pot of money will be split between much fewer players which at the end means more money per player.

SARU will also enforce Regulation 9 strictly. With enforcing this regulation SA players value will be far less appealing for European and Japanese clubs where SARU will not compromise on players release.

This changes will surely come in France first where club owners hate releasing players in test windows, so they will not come as hard at SA players anymore and agents power will also be stripped with no more backroom deals.

This will basically will have SA players having to retire for Europeans clubs to pay top dollar.

Rumours are that New Zealand are considering a similar approach which at the end decrease the perceived value of your player in the international market and they wont be in such a huge demand.

We will never be able to beat them at their own game with a currency that will not change from where we are now so SARU had to change the game by changing the rules.

The new contracting model is only part 1 if you we want to retain our players. There are a few other elements which will also come into play with Regulation 9 being one of them.

The good thing is that the players support this new structure, “The players fully support the model as it provides a clear career development pathway and greater certainty around contract renewals for players, while financial resources with regards to player salaries will be optimised,” said Eugene Henning, CEO of MyPlayers.

So how will the players categories work? Here is a summary from SARU on the player categories:

  1. Professional players (full-time players) who will be eligible to play in Vodacom Super Rugby, Guinness PRO14 and Currie Cup Premier Division competitions;
  2. Semi-professional players (part-time rugby players) who may only be contracted to play in the Currie Cup First Division and in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge;
  3. And development players (21 or younger who have not been offered professional contracts) who will play in the Under-21 and Under-20 competitions. However, they may be made available as temporary replacements for professional and semi-professional players;
  4. Club players may be contracted as temporary replacements for injured professional and semi-professional players.

Critically, agreement on squad size and player salary bill:

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