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Has money killed everything?


Professionalism in rugby changed a lot of things, but in any team sport loyalty and pride for the team and jersey is crucial. Does that still apply to rugby?

rugby365’s Oracle, Paul Dobson, takes a look at the lost art of loyalty in rugby and asks if money has killed off one of the true virtues of the game.

Is there still a place in rugby football for loyalty? Has money killed all that?

Two Wasps stung a little thought recently. I wrote briefly about Lawrence Dallaglio – at about the same time when Danny Cipriani was thinking of moving for more money. Two Wasps of different eras and different loyalties, it seems.

Dallaglio was a transition man. He came into big rugby when the game was, at least theoretically, amateur. Cipriani has come in when the game is big business.

Dallaglio was a member of just one club – London Wasps. He was similar to Martin Johnson in that regard – a one-club man. Neil Back was like that as well. Great players, loyal to one club, giving their all to one club.

But now there is the possibility of a salary cap in England and Cipriani – apparently – may be tempted to take his expertise to France where there is no salary cap.

The old school would find Dallaglio thoroughly laudable – the sort of thing you would expect from a team man but then those men would come largely from a body that paid to play the game. Loyalty and team spirit were essential virtues.

A more modern approach would say that Cipriani has a short career and must make the most of it financially. If his club cannot match the deal he can get from one of France’s clubs then he should join their swelling legion of foreigners.

The older brigade would see them as mercenaries without real attachment to what ever group they have joined. The more modern brigade would wish them luck. Grab with both hands while you can.

After all it takes confidence – and a good agent – to put yourself up for sale on the free market. Forget your last embarrassing performance and market yourself. The money counts.

You can always fake pride in club and jersey. After all some manage to sing a foreign anthem with simulated passion. You see them singing about England, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and France – countries to which they can have allegiance that is only financial and/or convenient.

You read of Percy Montgomery’s passion for Western Province and South Africa as he wanders off to Newport, Perpignan and the Sharks, and you wonder. He moved about in that fashion because it suited him. So where does loyalty lie?

Isn’t the essence of loyalty seeing a greater good outside of yourself? My club is more important than I am, my province is more important than I am and my country is more important than I am. Or is that too old-fashioned for words in a world when I am the centre of the universe – I, not even my family.

Both ways of looking at one’s life present simple decisions. If I am a one-club man, like Lawrence Dallaglio, the choice is simple – I don’t move. If I am in it for the money, the choice is again simple – I go where the pay is best. After all that is the way of business and rugby is now business.

Which man is likely to be the better servant of club, country and game? Probably the loyal man. Which man is more likely to be trusted? Again the loyal man? Which man is more likely to end his playing days with many friends? Again the loyal man.

One would have thought, too, that the loyal man is more likely to be happier and more likely to develop his talents as a result. All that stuff about it being more blessed to give than to receive, that giving is more likely to produce happiness and sanity – a heaven of a sort while grabbing for one’s self is more likely to have the opposite effect – a kind of hell. Doc Craven did not like the prospect of professionalism. He believed that, if we could make our work into play, we would be happy, but if we made our play into work, that was the way to drudgery, a form of slavery.

But then perhaps all of this is unreal speculation – a naive attempt to turn back the clock. And yet there must be a place for the Lawrence Dallaglio man – loyal and well enough remunerated.


  1. I am a Sharks man and always will be..no matter how well or how bad they play…not thy they ever really play badly. :mrgreen:

  2. ONE Question for the Author:

    Have you ever moved to another JOB, for more money or a better working environment?

  3. i think the author makes a very good point.

    i understand that rugby is very similar to a real job especially in this age of professionalism, but there are marked differences.

    The biggest is in the notion of representing one’s country, which is what really draws the fans in, they want to see players that are committed to the cause. I’m not a big one for these ‘codes’ etc cos i think they are often sheer hypocrasy. However as i understand it the springbok code puts the team and the pride of representing your country above everything else including material gain, money. This is a very admirable code. I would rather have a player committed to this code, then a more gifted player that is not. If its all about money I would take no interest in following the game.

  4. “One would have thought, too, that the loyal man is more likely to be happier and more likely to develop his talents as a result.”

    see that’s bollocks. let’s use his example of Percy, the dude was constantly improving after moving around. What about players that don’t get game time at the club and who suddenly become a revelation when they move clubs?

    professionalism is here to stay, get used to it. the best we can do is perhaps regulate things a bit better.

  5. Even Uli Schmidt – son of the original
    Blue Bul, Louis – at the end of his
    career moved to Transvaal.

    Not sure if that counts for or against
    him in my books.

    I suppose I’m from the old school
    loyalty – within reason, as opposed
    to mercenaries.

    Hats of to guys like Juan Smith and
    Jean de Villiers.


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  7. suppose its not just the money, should imagine the SH guys would not mind living and playing in the NH.

    what i did not like was our worldcup winning coach trying to tender to coach the BL on a tour to SA, especially after going on about Bok tradition and all of that. very poor form and let alot of ppl down.

  8. Reply to Boertjie @ 3:18 pm:

    Just yesterday a guy got electrocuted
    in a West Coast town for pissing
    against a defect pole.

    Last night we had just about the whole
    northern suburbs reaction force – some
    10 squad cars from all over, with all the
    noise they could make – to arrest
    a guy for presumably drunk driving just
    about 50 yards from my front door.

  9. Reply to Boertjie @ 3:18 pm:

    i think the S14 is still the best rugby competition in the world in terms of skills by a long shot. However, the NH has some very passionate teams and players.

    From a safety viewpoint, not sure the players are too concerned, not a reason why i chose to live and work abroad, but suppose for ppl looking to emigrate or with a young family, some might look at this. My sister is now on her own in SA and wont move, i read all the stories and think i must come back, but she says its a great country, i think it is and respect her alot for it.

    SA still has alot going for it in terms of quality of life.

  10. Reply to cab @ 3:56 pm:

    I didn’t even contemplate moving
    out of the Cape when I was young.

    The New SA is a very good example
    of what could and should have been,
    and what is.

    Past 4 years 55 members of the VIP
    Protection Unit were prosecuted for
    demeanors ranging from murder (6)
    to armed robbery and everything
    Only 2 were found guilty.

    The president’s convoy crashed with
    a car on a highway, SABC had the
    footage confiscated.

    Our chief of police has been on full
    salary for some 18 months, awaiting
    trial for corruption etc.

    Our next president is an uneducated

    But we Saffas are a very adaptable
    lot. And yes, it still is a great
    place to stay – especially in the
    only DA-run municipality in the land.

  11. I like living in a place
    where my biggest worry
    is whether i’ll be in time
    to pick up my laaitie.
    I leave my car open at the waters or rivers that i fish here.
    It might be diffirent
    twenty k’s away from here
    but here my car is open as i speak
    i have not stood in harms way here
    or wished it on another
    unless i conciously went to find it.
    Its a great place
    to raise your young.

  12. Whether you bleed for king and country
    or money.
    Two things are sure.
    Pain doesn’t care
    and blood stays red.
    Your motivation for playing
    is your own kak.

  13. D***koud hier Oudste,
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    Slayer gekoop vir die jaar se
    Freeride bike.
    Kom maandag.
    Kannie wag nie.


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  15. Dis min dat ek val Oudte
    ek hardloop te vinnig weg.
    Seker die eerste keer ST.T se hel
    eeu se geskiedenis.

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    scream out he’ll fight to the death.
    Unfortunately he was voicing his bravery
    while hiding between the women and children.
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    Hamas se gat.
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  17. Moet al weer hamba ouste,
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    Sal moré inloer.
    9 bells,myne.

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