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SA Rugby killing the goose for the golden egg

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The SA Rugby Union (Saru) are killing the Goose that lays the golden egg – against scientific advice and proven experience that helped Jake White’s team to win the 2007 World Cup.

That is the only way to describe the extra Test match against Wales Saru has agreed to and which will bring the number of 2010 tests to 14 plus the non-cap “Super Test” against the British Barbarians.

It is expected that the acceptance of the Wales test will be officially announced by Saru this week and according to sport24 the controlling body will be the only (financial) winners.

With the Wales Test added the Boks will play seven Test matches in sevens weeks (eight Saturdays) in June and July and five more in four weeks in Britain.

Those seven Tests in June and July are two against New Zealand and one against Australia, one against top Six Nations team France and two against Italy.

Plus the one against Wales, of course.

The Springboks play Wales in Cardiff on June 5 and France in Cape Town the following Saturday.

What’s more, the Wales Test comes only a week after the Super 14 final -and if any South African side does play in that final the young hopefuls for Bok colours – like Joe Pietersen, Brok Harris, Deon Stegmann and Gerhard van den Heever – will probably have to be overlooked because of the “fatigue factor.”

It certainly won’t be the country’s best team that is fielded every time, and the awarding of undeserved caps and the reverence for a Test cap that goes with it, will be ignored in this pursuit of money.

Little heed has been taken at the top level of what sports scientist Prof Tim Noakes has to say about over-playing the Boks.

Or of the way that Jake White had to “sacrifice” Test wins in order to win the World Cup.

With 15 internationals the only way to prevent or control that fatigue factor, is by awarding caps to second-stringers in a travesty of all that pride in the Springbok blazer has stood for in its proud history.

What will opponents say about the weakened teams bound to be sent abroad?

And the sponsors of the South African team?

And will there be support in South Africa for home games when an also-ran team is selected?

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers must be a perplexed man – and make no mistake, he will be the one who unfairly bears the brunt of weakened teams.

De Villiers was uncertain about the wisdom of the Grand Slam tour about which he was obviously not consulted, according to his interview with the Cape Times on February 2.

“The timing of this Grand Slam tour isn’t right for me,” he said to the Cape Times.

“I need to really sit down and work out when exactly we want to do the conditioning with the guys ahead of the 2011 season.

“From there we will know what we want to do and how we are going to approach the next two international seasons.”

De Villiers also added,”I haven’t spoken to the bosses yet about the Grand Slam tour, so I don’t know how they see it. I haven’t spoken to them or the players.”

The Springbok management team faces a difficult task to identify a rest period for the top Springboks to set them up for the run in to the World Cup in New Zealand in 2011.

This is made worse by SA Rugby (and SANZAR’s) decision to expand the Super 14 to a Super 15 which will be like playing an extra tournament on top of the Super14 for South African and New Zealand players.

Sitting out either the 2010 Currie Cup or the end of year tour were two of the possible rest periods that are being looked at by the Bok management.

That has now been complicated.

The Springboks’ international programme for this year is:

June 5: v Wales (Cardiff)
June 12: France (Cape Town)
June 19: v Italy (Witbank)
June 26: v Italy (East London)

July 10: v New Zealand (Auckland)
July 17: v New Zealand (Wellington)
July 24: v Australia (Brisbane)
Aug 21: v New Zealand (Johannesburg)
Aug 28: v Australia (Pretoria)
Sept 4: v Australia (Bloemfontein)

Nov 6: v Ireland (Dublin)
Nov 13: v Wales (Cardiff)
Nov 20: v Scotland (Edinburgh)
Nov 27: v England (London)
Dec 4: v British Barbarians (London)

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