I remember back in 1993 the French arrived in South Africa for a two test tour. Their touring party consisted of only 27 or 28 players. I remember thinking to myself typical French they always do the unexpected. What I probably didn’t know at the time is that they had probably jettisoned the excess baggage and were travelling light to try optimise their operation.
They travelled with a good mind of who exactly they were going to use and concentrated on those few. By having less in the squad the achievement of making it into the squad is increased. What it also does is it lowers the bill for the travelling squad. Five more players would have meant five more plane tickets, five more hotel bills, five more players to feed and although back in ’93 this wasn’t necessary an issue, nowadays it would be, there would be five more wages to pay. Add it up and you can calculate that the French were being economically sensible.
SARU seems to be able to splash the cash even in these times where the Rand is so weak and words like austerity are bandied about year on year. For example with the current selections for the 2 squads chosen for the Springbok end of year tour there exists a high probability that several players will return from the tour having seen less than 20 minutes of gametime. If the margins were smaller this would not be allowed to happen the money simply wouldn’t be available to do this. Is SARU spending their money wisely?
Optimising your operation doesn’t just apply to touring, it applies from top to bottom and this is why New Zealand has the edge on everyone. The money has never been available to the Kiwi’s like it has been to the South Africans.
In my other life where I’m not infactuated with what is going on with South African Rugby I am an electrician. For a short period I went out on my own, finding work, planning and designing jobs, ordering the materials, pricing , installing etc. What I found was that I looked after the materials I had ordered far better compared to when I worked for a firm. My lunch breaks were prompt and the time to complete tasks was almost halved. I had optimised my operation because I had no choice if I didn’t then I wouldn’t make money.
The Kiwi population is over 10 times smaller than the South African population therefore the money generated in New Zealand is far less than in South Africa. The Kiwi’s continue to have the ambition to be the best team in the world and the only way for them to achieve this is to jettison the excess baggage and streamline their operation making the most of their resources.
In the South African franchises we have already seen the extravagent pre-season tour to ‘prepare’ for the upcoming season are all but gone. Only the Sharks went overseas for their pre-season friendlies. Fat lot of good that did for the Sharks. The Lions went all the way to Kempton Park and Brakpan for their preparation. Which team would you say had optimised their operation in 2016?
Hopefully the recent ‘Indaba’ will streamline the SARU operation. Hopefully they’ll get rid of all the free loaders and the ones left will start working to their optimum to improve SA Rugby. South Africa isn’t the big player it once was. The R.F.U is far wealthier than SARU and when they wanted Eddie Jones they got him. The Japanese have money too. SARU needs to learn and learn fast or it will all be gone fast.