‘No play, no pay’ for Sharks

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This was the no-nonsense resolution passed at a meeting of the board of the Sharks directors at Kings Park.

The notorious disciplinary record of the Sharks in Super Rugby this year – three red cards and three yellows – was high on the agenda and the board has shown firm leadership in clamping down on the issue. It has warned players that if they are irresponsible they will be hit where it hurts most – in their pockets.

Board chairman Stephen Saad told The Mercury that it agreed fully with the public opinion that the reckless behaviour of some of the players was intolerable. Saad went further and said that the suspensions given to the players by the SA, New Zealand and Australian Rugby Association (Sanzar) were not enough.

“We have decided that going forward there must be a policy of ‘no pay for no play’ should a player be suspended for foul play,” said Saad, who is one of the country’s leading captains of industry with his pharmaceutical company, Aspen.

Saad said this would be a prerequisite in future player contracts at the Sharks and that the current players would be “asked” to have the clause accepted into their contracts.

“The Sharks Board agree that red cards and dirty play cannot be condoned and it is unacceptable that this behaviour be associated with the Sharks brand,” Saad said. “We endorse the executive management’s suggestion that the current censure (suspension from playing) is inadequate and can confirm that further sanction on the players has been taken over and above that served from Sanzar.

“To this end we consulted legal counsel regarding ‘no play, no pay’ for red cards,” he continued. “We feel this new censure is appropriate and will have the necessary teeth.”

R500 000

The Sharks have lost senior players in Bismarck du Plessis (four weeks for a kick to the head), Frans Steyn (five weeks for a tip tackle) and Jean Deysel (seven weeks for a knee to the head) and three others have been sin-binned.

As it stands, the suspended players are on full pay. It is known that a senior Springbok can earn up to R500 000 a month from provincial and national contracts, a fortune however you look at it, but particularly if he is idle at home because of a reckless act on the field.

It is not going to happen again, the Sharks say.

Du Plessis, Steyn and Deysel are part of the seven-man player leadership group and all have captained the team. The impact of the suspensions, and Pat Lambie being off injured, has been keenly felt by the squad.

But it was not all doom and gloom at the meeting. Saad said the good news was that there had been a financial recovery over the past year or so under chief executive John Smit.

“At the KZNRU AGM the consolidated accounts showed a financial turnaround of nearly R22 million in a single year,” he said. “The largest part of this turnaround can be attributed to the Sharks’ financial improvements. John has not only managed his expenses well and implemented the needed governance, but has been instrumental in driving the sponsorship revenue.

“This was sorely needed to underpin the investment we need to make in our squad to help impact the future strength of Sharks rugby.”

The Bulls match at Kings Park on Saturday is a must-win one as they have lost the past two games and slipped to ninth on the overall standings.

“On the rugby front the board recognises that we are not where we would like to be but need to acknowledge that John and his team in less than two years have won a Currie Cup, been in a Currie Cup semi-final with a very young squad and topped the SA Conference in Super Rugby last year for the first time,” said Saad. -The Mercury

Original source: ‘No play, no pay’ for Sharks

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