WP on player contracting

PUBLISHED: July 4, 2012

With the contracting window now open, the following are key points to take note of;

Professional Era

WP operates in a professional rugby era. Out- of-contract players have freedom of movement and there is global competition for this scarce resource. Players will move for many reasons including playing opportunity and financial reward.

WP Structures

WP prides itself on its structures and ability to un-earth, nurture and develop top talent. The Toyota School of Excellence, our representative team structures and the WPR Institute have been very successful in doing this. It is important to note that graduating from these junior structures and playing at Super Rugby level already are the likes of Etzebeth, Kolisi, Kitshoff, Carr, Malherbe and Elstadt, all on long term contracts and already making their marks. In addition to this, the results of our U19, U21 and senior teams, as well as performances at the very highest level, demonstrate a unified, structured and very successful, in recent years, approach.

Retention of home grown talent

WP will as a principle look to retain the best of its home grown talent, whilst contracting in the best outside talent where and when required.

Ethical and honest

In doing so WP will operate ethically and honestly and will not, for example, offer guaranteed starting positions for signatures.

Team ethic, passion and loyalty

Team ethic, passion and loyalty remain important principles to WP Rugby. An individual will never be considered at the expense of greater team harmony.

WP Rugby will not look to retain players that do not wish to remain in the province, are not here for the right reasons, nor will they look to impede a player’s growth and development.

With specific regard to Handre Pollard


WP identified and nurtured and invested in Pollard’s talent from a young age (12) and he represented WP at U13, U16 and U18 levels.

Senior Coach Allister Coetzee invited Pollard to train with the Stormers in 2011 already.


WP negotiated with Mr Pollard senior in good faith since August 2010 when a contract was offered for Pollard junior.

Mr Pollard senior has expressed to senior WP officials, coaching and scouting and development staff, including Thelo Wakefield (President), Allister Coetzee (Senior Professional Coach), Rob Wagner (MD), Hennie Bekker (School of Excellence) and Jacques Hanekom (WPRI), on numerous occasions spanning 2010-2012, both verbally and in writing, that only offers had been received from the Bulls and the Sharks and that no contract had been signed.

In addition in both newspaper and radio reports – both Pollard senior and junior are on record confirming same.

WP only had official confirmation on Pollard junior signing for the Bulls via the formal press release issued by the Blue Bulls.

Given WP’s investment and continuous contract communication, both verbally and in writing, since 2010, WP Rugby expected the courtesy and good faith notification of his signing outside of the Province.

WP has invested a significant amount in the development of the player a career that to date has spanned U13-U18 with the Province.

Despite the rumours about a move, WP took Mr Pollard at his word and has continued to support the player, recently appointed as our WP Craven Week Captain.

Way forward

In the professional era and given our general principles outlined above, WP respects the will of a player to move.

Players will be identified, nurtured and make their names here – others will be bought in – players will be lost and players will be let go – that is the professional nature of sport.