A bit of WP Rugby philosophy.
After yesterday's woeful display against a spirited, and dare I say it, better coached Lions team, most readers would justifiably think "WTWP is he going on about!". I say, hear me out fellow snoek, wine and Karoo choppie lovers.
For many years our proud province has been at the forefront of not just supplying ourselves, but also the rest of SA & the Boks with good, great and sometimes legendary players. Nowadays we're also supplying the rest of the rugby playing world too. The players are doing well and making their mark all over the show. The Western Cape schools, varsities & clubs are producing quality players by the hundreds every year. Scouts are surveying the playing fields like a Swiss border patrol.
So why have we become a "selling club" as it's known in that other sport? The answers are evident. The downwardly mobile rand, limited spots in the WP squads, international exposure of players, the Bok selection criteria for overseas based players, the fantastic & efficient management of WP Rugby...erhm... the last few years. The list goes on.
So how can we even contemplate this possible world class greatness of WP Rugby? Simple, but bold thinking required. A three step plan. That's it.
Firstly, abolish the SARU salary cap rule put on players salaries in South Africa. Pay the players as dictated by their worth & market conditions. For example, MVH Holdings at the Sharks will almost certainly be vying for uncapping. They would want to keep their current squad intact, which they are so carefully constructing.
In addition, keep SARU in administrative control of WP Rugby for the interim until...
Thirdly, suitable and financially strong private equity investors are found. Not just any company looking to keep a few shares in their portfolio & who's more interested in naming rights. No, I'm talking serious long term investment. The closest you can possibly get to a Saudi billionaire, American sports investment or Russian oligarch type of financial backing. Something along the lines of Altrad at Montpellier or CVC's stake in the RFU. Though purists would not like to admit it, rugby can learn a lot from some European Football Clubs when it comes to models of success. It boils down to having very deep pockets & a strong willingness to see brand growth. Thus leading to increased revenues for the investors in time to come.
A prospective investor coming to the Western Cape will see a WP Rugby Provincial Union with a wealth of talented & skilled players coming from it's player base systems. A strong brand with a fantastic supporters base. An iconic, modern 55 000 seater stadium, in the most scenic of settings you can find. Cape Town city and it's surrounds as a world renowned tourist destination with great weather and lots of interesting attractions. International rugby competitions like the URC & possible Heineken Cup participation. The real incentive of retaining and even attracting the best players & coaches at home & abroad. Big names rocking up for the WP Galacticos at a packed CTS on the weekends!
I can hear Mark Alexander's cell phone ringing already...