Back in February, when SA Rugby unveiled a new player contracting model, few of the pundits commenting on the announcement actually understood what it was that Rassie was trying to do. Perhaps now, with the World Cup back on home soil for the next four years, they get it.
The reality of this World Cup win is that other nations will soon follow suit in removing restrictions on national players earning a living in foreign climes. If they don’t, they’ll be left behind.
A recent Tweet from Wasps Rugby Club features an interview with former Springbok, Ashley Johnson. He tells the interviewer(s) in what appears to be a press conference, that South Africa’s win was greatly aided by players currently working in England.
The same could be said for players making their way in PRO14 or, across the English Channel, in the French Top 14. And it could even be said, in this particular World Cup, of players who had played in the Japan Rugby Top League.
It’s amusing, therefore, to revisit what 2007 Rugby World Cup winning coach, Jake White, had to say about the new contracting model earlier this year:
“Under the new contracting model, SA Rugby is actively telling players to go overseas with no fear that it will affect their chances of playing for the Springboks.”