In the ongoing leaking of fraud investigation allegations surrounding former Blue Bulls High Performance Manager Xander Janse van Rensburg, the Rapport newspaper opened a can of worms in an article of their edition published on Sunday, 21 April 2019.
In the article it states that two unnamed agents allege that the former Garsfontein 1st XV and SA Schools player Diego Appollis received a whopping R40 000 per month from the Union from the time the youngster was still in grade-11. If true that translates to two seasons of being paid as a professional before the then schoolboy even rendered services for the Bulls and this is how the Rapport arrived at the astronomical R1 million valuation.
SARU prohibits Rugby Unions from entering into binding contracts with rugby players before they turn 18 years old.
Importantly Appollis’ current agent Chandré Boshoff, who has been the player’s representative since he turned 18, has denied that the Appollis was contracted as a minor. Surprisingly Boshoff did disclose that Appollis currently earns R40 000 per month as a legitimate contracted player of the Blue Bulls – which is something usually only done by an agent with the player’s consent.
The article makes no attempt to relate the details of this disclosure back to fraud though. Xander left his post in February 2019. According the Rapport it was for health reasons.
The whole fraud investigation matter does however raise valid questions about accountability at the Blue Bulls. Aside from the High Performance Manager, other senior staff should have been responsible for ratifying and signing off player contacts after ensuring these were at least in line with market related values and within the Bulls budget. The reporting on the matter sways towards suggestions that for a period of time these important internal controls either did not exist, were overlooked or were just not properly enforced.