Players agree new contracts with SA Rugby

Nineteen players have agreed one-year Springbok contracts with SA Rugby, it was announced on Saturday. An offer was made to a 20th - CJ van der Linde - but the deadline expired without CJ indicting whether he would return to South Africa from Ireland.

Nineteen players have agreed one-year Springbok contracts with SA Rugby, it was announced on Saturday. An offer was made to a 20th - CJ van der Linde - but the deadline expired without CJ indicting whether he would return to South Africa from Ireland.

The contracted group includes seven players from the Sharks, six from the Blue Bulls, four from the Stormers and one each from the Lions and Cheetahs.

The players are contracted to a remuneration structure that will run until 2011, although players will only be contracted on an annual basis. Non-contracted players will be incentivised to force their way into the squad.

"The players' input into this process was extremely positive," said Andy Marinos, SA Rugby manager of national teams and acting managing director.

"We met the SA Rugby Players' Association in 2007 to decide on a remuneration model for the players until the next Rugby World Cup. The principle was to establish a new way for contracting as well as avoid the 'last minute discussions' we'd previously had with Sarpa on the eve of end-season tours. SA Rugby held talks with representatives of Sarpa, including senior Springbok players and also two managing directors of the Super 14 franchises. Our negotiations were centred on a performance-based model that was also incentivised for the non-contracted players.

"The old model was beneficial to those select few that had contracts, while the non-contracted players received only a daily allowance and their match fees.

"We also wanted to recognise the difference between Tier I and Tier II Test nations - in the past the same match fees were paid for both." The model for 2008 to 2011 was agreed as: Contracted Players: SA Rugby will contract a minimum of 10 players and a maximum of 24 - depending on financial and playing resources.

Squad Fees: All players selected for a Vodacom Inbound, Vodacom Tri-Nations and End-of-year Tour will receive an assembly fee.

Match Fees: All players will be paid match fees and win bonuses depending on whether an opponent is from a Tier I (top six) or Tier II nation. The ranking of opponents will be based on the IRB rankings as at June of each year.

Contracted Springbok players for 2009 Sharks: JP Pietersen, Adrian Jacobs, Ruan Pienaar, John Smit, Bismarck du Plessis, Frans Steyn, Tendai Mtawarira.

Golden Lions: Jaque Fourie. Free State Cheetahs: Juan Smith. Blue Bulls: Fourie du Preez, Victor Matfield, Pierre Spies, Bryan Habana, Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha. Stormers: Conrad Jantjes, Enrico Januarie, Jean de Villiers, and Schalk Burger. - Sapa

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