With SA now playing rugby in Europe, it’s time to rethink salary caps and squad sizes Mary I. Bruner June 11, 2022 Europe income One of the positive aspects of forcing South African franchises to compete in both the United Rugby Championship and the Currie Cup was how it paved the way to professional play for late developers who would have been stranded previously. in club rugby and whose talent would ultimately have been wasted. It also means Griquas and Pumas are now much more competitive in the Currie Cup, with both strong semi-final contenders. Surely no one will dispute that the larger and more extensive South African gas pipeline… One of the positive aspects of forcing South African franchises to compete in both the United Rugby Championship and the Currie Cup was how it paved the way to professional play for late developers who would have been stranded previously. in club rugby and whose talent would ultimately have been wasted. It also means Griquas and Pumas are now much more competitive in the Currie Cup, with both strong semi-final contenders. Surely no one will dispute that the wider and farther the South African gas pipeline is, the better it will ultimately be for the Springboks. When you consider the roads that players like Makazole Mapimpi and Marco van Staden have taken to join the national team, one wonders how much more great talent will go to waste. Are they just the absolute flukes that managed to make it to the big time? Attracting club rugby players is something the Bulls have successfully achieved, given how they enter the final weekend of the Currie Cup round robin at the top of the log, while also taking part at a URC semi-final in Dublin on Friday night. . But, commendable as their efforts are, that shouldn’t detract from the fact that next season, when all four URC franchises will have additional European competition to contend with, the situation will become even more difficult to manage. Release of plugs Bulls director of rugby Jake White and Sharks head coach Sean Everitt have asked SA Rugby to release the franchises from their player caps. Currently, South Africa’s top four teams can only sign 50 players and cannot spend more than R60 million on contracts. While the intention – to prevent syndicates from hoarding talent as they did in the past and to force them to draw from the amateur ranks – is noble, 50 players just isn’t enough if you have three concurrent competitions to manage. Also read: Why SA’s big four teams just have to win in Europe While a salary cap of R60m already puts South Africa at a disadvantage in Europe, as it is only £3m – compared to the £4.2m Scottish clubs can spend, 5 £6m for Wales and England, £6.6m for Ireland and £10m for France – it’s the numbers game that needs the most attention. When a team travels, they typically take between 26 and 28 players with them – matchday 23 plus cover in specialist positions like hooker, prop and scrum-half. That leaves just about enough players under contract for a Currie Cup match on the same weekend. Unless, of course, the Sharks went through it last weekend and the Bulls deal with it on Saturday, you have injuries too, which are pretty much unavoidable in a rugby season. Then there are also call-ups from national teams like the Springboks and the SA U20s. Now that SA Rugby have secured five lucrative seats at the European table, the last thing anyone wants is for South African teams to be mediocre. The Currie Cup is also far too historic and valuable a mark to be allowed to become anything more than a club competition. Read more: Lions and cheetahs get huge European boost Simply increasing the number of players a union can offer some sort of contract to will give struggling coaches some breathing room. When the cap was originally introduced, South Africa were still in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup usually only really started once the competition was over. There was therefore no need for such a large number of teams and the development of fringe players suffered. This is no longer the case and it is time to ease this particular burden on unions.