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SA Rugby close to adopting draft system

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander says they’re close to finalising a draft system to assist the Cheetahs and the Kings in improving their squads for the Pro 14 competition.

Mark Alexander. Picture: sascoc.co.za

CAPE TOWN - A draft system for South African rugby players could soon become a reality according to SA Rugby President Mark Alexander.

Alexander says they’re close to finalising a draft system to assist the Cheetahs and the Kings in improving their squads for the Pro 14 competition.

“We are talking about a drafting system. At our next franchise meeting, we are hopefully going to get the finalisation. We presented it, a couple of tweaks, we are almost there to get that contracting model out.”

Both franchises were dumped from Super Rugby last year and were thrust into the Northern Hemisphere’s Pro 14.

The Cheetahs would have been content with their inaugural season, they fell just short of the semi-finals.

The Kings, however, struggled with a depleted squad, coach Deon Davids didn’t have a pre-season before the competition and was working with a completely different squad to one that was on a high in Super Rugby.

They won just one of their 21 fixtures and now SA Rugby hopes adopting a new system will aid the Pro14 franchises.

“We are putting a capping on the contracting of players, we’ve got a contracting model about to be approved. In that contracting model, a lot of players will become available to other teams like the Kings and the Cheetahs.”

Alexander says the new contracting model will ensure all of South Africa’s brightest talents are on the field.

“In any position, you’ll have three or four players for that position. The number four and number five player never get an opportunity to play, that kid can be drafted by another union and have game time. So, we can have the best players playing rugby every week and not some of the best players sitting in the storeroom.”

The standard of the Pro14 cannot be questioned, in Europe’s two biggest finals, there is a Pro14 member competing and Alexander sees the value in continuing the experiment.

“It’s good for us, we are the only country in the world that plays in two different hemispheres and two different international tournaments.”

Alexander added that South Africa is looking to expand their player base with two new teams in the Northern hemisphere.

“We believe we have eight franchises, currently six are accommodated, we need two more to be accommodated. It’s good for us, it gives up options but also it gives different styles of rugby at different times of the year.”

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