Veteran Springbok hooker Schalk Brits has already made his presence felt on the training field with the Bulls for the upcoming Super Rugby campaign.
But the 37-year-old also has an interesting if controversial plan to try and help SA Rugby keep local players in the country.
Overseas clubs continue to exploit the weak Rand by offering South African stars massive pay packages that domestic franchises simply can’t compete with.
As a result, Brits suggests negotiating tax cuts for professional players with government.
“We simply won’t ever be able to compete with overseas contracts,” he told Netwerk24.
“But maybe there’s scope for a legitimate, lawful framework that could give players some tax breaks.”
Brits, who put his MBA at Cambridge University on hold to play in this year’s World Cup, certainly knows what he’s talking about as a business graduate.
However, given South Africa’s narrow tax base and government’s revenue headaches, it’s unlikely the treasury and Sars would want to decrease tax on individuals who mostly still earn over a million a year.
As Brits also points out, the player drain is placing undue pressure on the viability of the local game in SA as there’s an imbalance between the “type” of players plying their trade here.
“We no longer have mentors in our rugby and it is a pity that so many of our players are playing overseas. There are no more players in the middle level – you get the Springboks and then the young players who are taking their first steps in Super Rugby. The men who have to transfer the intellectual capital are overseas,” he said.