Quotas unlikely to end any time soon

Those of you who thought or hoped we might be nearing a time when rugby quotas in SA get scrapped and transformation starts to take care of itself, guess again. For the 2014 Vodacom Cup season SARU has just upped it’s transformation drive by instituting quotas along the lines of those used to determine school age-group provincial teams.

From next year Vodacom Cup teams will be required to field 7 players of colour of which 2 have to be forwards and 5 in the starting team.

If anything it’s a move that suggests the transformation (often better described as window-dressing) process is falling short of its desired goals.

One of the things that has worked against SARU over the years is that the cost to develop a player in terms of conditioning has been steadily rising and is slowing turning the game at the higher levels of school and junior provincial rugby into a bit of an elitist sport. In other words rugby in SA at a level required to keep players on track to make it to the seniors one day, has possibly becoming less accessible to many rather than achieving its intended goal of spreading the net wider.  

The bottom-line is that teams selected purely on merit might now actually be much further away than ever before.

31 Comments

  1. Thing is I think this will cause an exodus of young talented players to other countries at a young age. It might harm SA rugby in the long run I think.

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  2. I read elsewhere that ito quota rules, it would mean that WP will be compelled to start with at least 7 rugby players in their side.

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  3. @BOG: Wat sê die scoreboard hierdie jaar ou maat. Hoe lyk Vrystaat skolerugby vir volgende jaar, ek weet dat dit besonders goed lyk in die Weskaap en die SWD!!

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  4. I saw the announcement on the Vodacom Cup and once again despair at the sheer stupidity and ineptitude of some of our policy makers.

    What is most annoying is that a move like this is premised on the implied presumption that there are coaches at Vodacom Cup level who would still allow racial prejudice to influence their approach to selections and that this is the reason that more “PDI” players do not manage the transition from School/U19/21 through to the senior ranks. For most aspirant pros performance at Vodacom Cup level is a critical step in this trajectory.

    I would argue that the imposition of quotas at CW level has had the effect of exacerbating the attrition rate of players who made those sides on that basis. if you weren’t legitimately talented enough to make a CW team on merit what possible chance do you have of surviving the subsequent hurdles to becoming a paid professional? I am not for a moment suggesting that there are not many talented black players selected on merit. Siya Kolisi, for eg, had potential Bok written all over him from the first time I saw him play for EP at Grant Khomo in 2007. He though had had the benefit of a good development structure at a school like Grey High.

    if the game in SA is to be transformed then IMO the critical element in the strategy has to be to include a grassroots intervention that ensures that talent is identified at the earliest sensible stage and then exposed to the quality of development that our traditional rugby schools can provide.

    In the US an inner city kid with physical potential does not progress to the NFL or NBA by continuing to play in his neighborhood – instead he is hopefully identified by talent scouts and incorporated into a good high school program which, if he is good enough, will get him into College and then the pro ranks. As in all sport the attrition rate is very high at each stage.

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  5. @Predator: Kan jy onthou dat VS skolerugby al ooit werklik swak was? Gemeet teen hulle hoe standaarde, het hulle seker “minder goeie” jare gehad, maar nasionaal gesien, dink ek nie dat hulle al werklik swak jare beleef het nie. Ek is bly oor jou optimisme en die groter konsekwentheid daar by julle- di goed vir rugby.

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  6. The powers that be have gone nuts!!!

    This whole thing is being handled in the worst possible way.The biggest losers here, will not be the ones unfairly left out, but those 7 young men who are thrown into the deep end.I am a supporter of transformation, but this is just not the way it should be done.

    Transformation requires a plan of action, not a dictation of numbers.For example, what scientific formula determined that 7 is a good number?Which smart @$$ decided that?

    Start at grass root level, train coaches, provide training equipment and technical support, fix club rugby in the townships/rural areas, identify talent, support the talent, introduce the talent to provincial structures, manage the players, incorporate the players into the systems…do this consistantly and properly, and voila!

    THIS IS JUST MADNESS!

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  7. @Playa: Quotas move the cost and responsibility from SARU/Goverment to the unions who’s reaction was to take the cheaper route filling their quotas, being “purchase talent” rather than develop. So gentleman the quota system will be with us until the end of days.

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  8. @BOG: Jy praat sense ou maat, Vrystaat was nog altyd ‘n faktor en sal seker nog so wees vir baie jare. Ek is opgewonde oor die talent veral in die SWD, hierdie seuns het ‘n geleenthede nodig om by die groter unies in te skakel vir ‘n belowende toekoms. Die senior SWD unie kan dit nie eintlik bied nie.

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  9. European It is then four our boys. Even they born into democracy are finding this just bullsh*t. Good luck future of SA Rugby. The book jersey albeit hallowed, is not so attractive now!

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  10. European It is then for our boys. Even though they born into democracy, they are finding this just bullsh*t. Good luck future of SA Rugby. The bok jersey albeit hallowed, is not so attractive now!

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  11. @kcob: Well, when Brian Habana is knocking down R660K a MONTH in France, there certainly are options. Whether he would be earning that without his Bok exposure can be debated, but hell, even R50k a week is good wonga, even living in France or Britain.

    I see ou Helium is also criticising it …

    http://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/Peter-de-Villiers-slams-SARUs-quota-plan-20130816

    “They (SARU) make people believe they care about who is coming through the system – but they only do that to tick some boxes.

    “They like to report these things but you don’t see the difference in reality.

    “It’s not the first time they have tried to put these things in place and they have never worked.”

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  12. @Playa: I wish more people, and by this I mean the people that makes these stupid decisions, would see it the way you do.

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  13. @Playa: Please don’t call him Madevu. I know it means mustache, but College have their very own Madeva, Mr AS Langley, a much revered past headmaster who had an epic mustache. I simple cannot allow ……. :evil: :evil: 8-O

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  14. @Tjoppa: You are 100% spot on, side step the actual cost of development in rural or non rugby playing areas where you should be developing players, facilities etc, and instead ensure a few “black guys” end up in “white schools” and ensure their entrance into academies and then legislate on black vs white player quota system. It is all BS and needs to be opposed. You cannot call Kolisi or Basson and most of the players filling the slots allocated to the quote system, as PDI, it is entirely incorrect – 1. in many instance it is absolutely insulting to the individual to be branded as such 2. Secondly many JUST SIMPLY ARE NOT DISADVANTAGED, how can one claim that Kolisi is PD, or Basson etc, look at the opportunity they were afforded to attend Grey High and Dale. This is just racist in it’s entirety and proves no point. Stop insulting South African rugby players and pick the best teams available on any day.

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  15. I know this is completely off topic , but all thoughts amd prayers with both the Hilton and Michaelhouse communities after the tragic losses they have suffered this week.

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  16. Can’t see why this still surprises people, this is a policy SARU will never stop. By discontinuing their quota system, would in their eyes, be like handing control of South African rugby and it’s future destiny back to the old regime – not going to happen, just have to accept it and get used to it.

    You going to have to be world class at a young age to even get a sniff at a fullback / wing /any backline position other than flyhalf as white schoolboy moving forward, that’s just the nature of it. If he has the physical attributes, I would be encouraging my son to play in the tight 5 that’s for sure.

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  17. I agree with the quotas maybe now the provinces will wake up and start taking development seriously. Its still flipping hard for a player born in under developed or poor communities to make it because their school games aren’t being televised, the youth week selectors pick players from their own schools and the coaching and equipment in black communities are still not up to scratch. The unions need to take responsibility and help the pdI to overcome the disadvantages that they are born into. People also need to understand that the white community is not big enough to sustain rugby as marketable product in the country. The black community involvement is crucial to getting massive sponsorship and money into SA rugby. 5 million vs a possible 45 million in exposure for the sponsors is massive. For black people to start watching rugby it needs to lose its tag as a Afrikaaner sport.

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  18. @Tarpeys: The intent of quota’s is good, I support that. The problem is the mechanism, by trying to force a result rather than a method. It is completely obvious that the fact that there are anything like 10 black Springboks that have achieved that on merit, but via highly selective methods, taking promising players OUT of their home environment, putting them into a Model C or private school and giving them their start. To be successful we need to take the mountain to Mohammed here, not the other way around. It’s a out facilities, equipment, coaching and opportunity. How, anghaas, not sure how, but it is going to take wonga and commitment, not a quota at representative level. To easy to spend a small amount of money to make the numbers, everyone will take the easy way out

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  19. @Gungets Tuft: GT, I think what we are saying is that development is essential and I don’t hear anyone on this blog or elsewhere denying that, however quota’s are not the way to get there other than in the form of providing some pretense in the short term. I agree with Meadows, do we actually believe coaches are still racially biased, or do they also want the best 15 on the park which in most instances includes black and coloured players in any case. And those players in the instance of school first teams are there on merit only. Tarpeys, try and sell season tickets to PDI families, happy days, you’ll be as accepted as the JW’s knocking on your door on a Saturday morning. Access to the sport has out priced itself from the mass market. Amazulu season tickets cost R500 and include a free jersey, the Sharks start at R1200. Probably only in NZ is rugby a mass market product, but there are only about 250 people on the islands anyway!

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  20. @McCulleys Workshop, I agree with you. Black people are not going to flock in numbers to buy rugby ticket because of the prices. But the problem facing SARU I would imagine is similar to that Gregor Paul revealed in his book about New Zealand rugby. He pointed out the fact that despite the All Blacks brand being probably the one of the top brands in the world but the money that they get from Adidas, Ford coca cola and so on does not reflect the power of that brand because only about 5 million people (NZ population) are exposed to the brand when you exclude global audiences. So the sponsors only give them the fraction of what they give lesser teams with bigger populations. That is one of the reasons why they can’t keep their top player in New Zealand when they want to go abroad.

    I think SARU has the same dilemma, where black people don’t watch rugby on tv and therefore the sponsors brand are missing out on a large amount of the population and therefore are not probably paying SARU what they would if more people watched rugby on just television. So they probably reckon if more black players were professional and appear on tv then more black people will relate to the teams and watch the sport and get exposed to the sponsors adverts and branding.

    This will hopefully, increase SARU coffers and be able to compete to a degree with European salaries and keep particularly the younger players in the country and not get watered down competitions like the Currie cup is at he moment.

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  21. @Tarpeys: If that logic applied fully then SAFA should be overflowing with cash with a local audience of about 40 million. The game would be developed to its full potential and we would qualify easily for the World Cup every 4 years.
    It’s never going to happen. You cannot force people to take part in a sport that they don’t enjoy or follow. The black audience in South Africa are, generally speaking, football followers and always will be. Quotas will never change that. Generally, different cultures choose their sports and stick to them. Take India. They play cricket and hockey. But they do not play football, the game with probably the widest support world wide, despite their massive population.
    You can take a horse to water.

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  22. @Tarpeys: But if SARU is to enjoy financial benefits why oh why are they not interested to invest. I think SARU is a klomp slapgatte that is to lazy to work and expect everybody else to serve on theit command.

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  23. @ Wester you don’t know the facts, yes Bafana Bafana might not be best team out there but the PSL has been in the top ten Leagues in the world for a number of years now. The winner of the league gets over R60 million rand in combined revenue, Benni McCarthy earned R550 000 a month playing for Orlando Pirates and SA soccer player don’t go overseas any more to make a fortune, why is Supersport paying exorbitant fees for tv rights to the PSL. The PSL is a vibrant world class product because poeple watch it, sponsors are falling over themselves to sponsors cups and titles. it’s viewed by millions across the continent with Kaizer Chiefs and Pirates games being televised world wide.

    The point of black people not liking rugby shows ignorance. Black people love rugby and if us white people let go of this notion of it being a white game, it might actually start to get somewhere without needing quotas because black players will get a fair opportunity to compete with white players which isn’t happening at the moment. Why do you think Supersport has added Xhosa commentary and rugby talk shows because they realize that there is a genuine hunger for rugby in the black communities and SARU is trying to turn that in interest into money in the bank.

    Rugby is not a white sport, it’s a South African sport. Black South Africas feel that they are not properly represented at National level considering the numbers that take part at amateur level.

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