I really hope that the SA “A” team will become an ongoing feature of rugby in this country.
Not only does it serve as an extra eye for the Springbok coaching staff, but it exposes young players a level other than Super Rugby and will equip them with the necessary tools to perhaps one day play full international rugby.
It is understandable that this is a costly affair for SA Rugby and that it will probably gooi their budget out a bit, but this team is more important than having a sixth franchise in Super Rugby.
And instead of diluting competition, this SA “A” will benefit the country big time.
I envision them playing against the New Zealand Maoris, the England Saxons like they did, once-off games against the Barbarians and maybe even some international action against minnows such as Tonga and Samoa.
In a country so rich in depth, South Africa will only benefit from having a second national team.
And if it’s a question – like coach Allister Coetzee said – of funding, it would be nice to know how profitable a sixth Super Rugby franchise has really been for the SA Rugby hierarchy.