Cape Town – SA Rugby is set to make a groundbreaking decision that will cut the country’s professional player pool in half.
According to president Mark Alexander, the new system will aim to reduce the number of professional players in the country from around 990 to around 460.
It means that the major franchises will only be able to contract between 40-50 players per season.
Any surplus players who are not contracted will then be placed into the draft system and used whenever they are needed.
“We’ve created a false market in this country. It’s simply not sustainable having 990 players trying to make a living,” Alexander said on Wednesday at the launch of this season’s PRO14.
“We have the biggest number in the world.
“In the new model all the best players will be playing all the time. You won’t have the third and fourth choice guys sitting in the store-room.
“Some players will have normal jobs and work in the day, and earn a salary, and then play on weekends, and receive a game fee. Once we bring in the draft system smaller teams will benefit by being able to select players that would ordinarily not get game time at the franchises.
“This initiative is driven by the unions in conjunction with the players and their association,” Alexander added.
“They’ve drafted this document, it’s a great one. We should’ve done this much earlier.”