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Did the Bulle win the blerrie Lotto…?

Written by Iza Loubser (Ice)

Posted in :Bulls, Currie Cup, Lions, Original Content, Other SA Teams, School Rugby, Sharks on 18 Jul 2012 at 12:00
Tagged with : , , ,

On one of my recent Twitter rants (@Ice457), I made a snotty comment about the Bulls purchasing all the schoolboy talent and something to the effect that they want to eliminate opposition competition. I was subsequently invited by to write an article on “Bulls Bargain Buys”. I would obviously like to share this with our own readers as well!

Did the Bulle win the blerrie Lotto…? Did they get a chequebook verniet, for free?

Now you all know, I am the first to say: “Welcome to the professional era of rugby” when it comes to the signing of new talent. Especially with the majority screaming (or is it moaning?) “The Sharks don’t consist of home grown talent.” or “The Sharks are the Cheetahs’ second team” or…or…

And yes….you get it on forums all over. And sadly so, a lot of them are Bulls fans who are the first to throw the “accusation”…. But wait a minute….it seems they have finally caught onto this professional thing…and ….it seems they are trying to make up for the years lost in this game!

Now, there is a saying in Afrikaans – “moenie die hol onder die hoender uittrek nie”- basically it means don’t go overboard…but that seems to be exactly what the Bulls are doing!

Just on the Schoolboy hunting ground they have signed JWC fly half, Handre Pollard – okay, I will admit, I am very jealous of that signing! :???:

Others boys confirmed being signed by the Bulls are: Corne Cooper, Arno van Wyk, Justin Basson, Leighton van Wyk, Piet-Louw Strauss, Chris Massyn, Wilco Louw, Kobus Womarans, Corniel Els, Carel Swart, Josh Stander, JP Smith and the Kriel Twins.

Let me just count that quickly…one…two…three…uhmmmm, fifteen. FIFTEEN??? FIFTEEN?? And that’s without confirmation of Reagan Smith! So, in that group alone you have 3 fly halves, an 8th man, 3 flanks, two props, two scrumhalves, three hookers, one fullback and one centre.

And that is not the end of it….they have also signed eleven current Blue Bulls Craven Week players. And we are not even talking about the current contracted players at the union.

Seriously…? I mean… ? Twenty seven new players?

What is the Bulls objective with these signings? Is it to try and eliminate competition? Have they got some sort of league going that we don’t know about? Are they starting a Pinkie and the Brain “Rugby World Domination war”?

The problem is, I simply cannot see playing opportunity for all these youngsters, and inevitably, they will leave for other unions and even overseas teams. So what IS the objective behind this shopping spree?? Perhaps one of you guys on here that is closely involved with Schoolboy rugby can tell me…because I am baffled. And I have to add, very much concerned.

This made me think a bit and I did a bit of research in finding a solution for, what I think is, a very unhealthy situation.

Now, and I actually cannot believe that I am saying this, but perhaps the Yanks are doing a good thing, with the draft system they have in place. Especially the system they call “Entry Draft”.

This a process used to allocate certain players to teams. In a draft, teams take turns selecting from a pool of eligible players. When a team selects a player, the team receives exclusive rights to sign that player to a contract, and no other team in the league may sign the player.

The entry draft is used to allocate players who have recently become eligible to play in a league or Union. The players may come from high school or junior teams or teams in other countries.

An entry draft prevents expensive bidding wars for young talent and ensures that no one team can sign contracts with all of the best young players and make the league uncompetitive. To encourage parity, teams that do poorly in the previous season usually get to choose first in the post season draft. From my limited knowledge I think it is something like the team who comes bottom has first pick, second bottom second pick etc. it is supposed to level the playing field so the team who can pay the most will not win everything.

Drafts are collective bargaining agreements between leagues and unions representing players. These agreements generally stipulate that after a certain number of seasons, a player whose contract has expired becomes a free agent and can sign with any team. They also require minimum and maximum salaries (This I think is very important) for newly drafted players. Drafts are used as a way to restrain teams’ payrolls and reduce the dominance of the league’s perennial contenders.

If a drafted player does not want to sign with a union, he may be traded. So if Handre was chosen by the Lions and wants to go to the Bulls, they may trade him for a player at the Bulls of their choice, etc.

Admittedly, I do not know this system inside out, but what I understand is that different sports types have taken the basics of this system, adapted it in some ways to suite the sport. We can perhaps look at draft systems within a province (to secure a percentage of home grown talent) and then looking nationally to fill the gaps. Whatever suites our needs and turn this into a healthier playing field.

So perhaps SARU and the different unions should get together, have a thinking scrum and put together a draft system, which would benefit the sport we love and not just one union…?


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