Cape Town – Former Springbok lock Marco Wentzel believes smart planning is needed for South Africa to build on the national team’s Rugby World Cup success.
“I believe we need to strengthen our Super Rugby squads. The answer might be fewer players on bigger contracts. And in terms of Springbok rugby, it’s probably the same thing and Rassie Erasmus has alluded to that. It’s about fewer players on bigger contracts and trying to keep the core you have, which is tough because you then lose the younger guys,” Wentzel said in an exclusive interview with Sport24.
Wentzel, who played two Tests for the Boks in 2002, added that it was sad to see so many promising young players leave South African shores.
“If a 23-year-old plays four Tests and then goes overseas… the question is, how do you keep that player? A smaller, more elite squad would make sense and the nice thing is that Rassie is moving into the role of director of rugby on a full-time basis, which will be his main focus.”
Wentzel, who played for teams like the Sharks, Southern Kings, Leicester Tigers and Wasps, added that he liked the idea of Jacques Nienaber being tipped to take over as Bok coach from Erasmus.
“Jacques Nienaber would offer great continuity if appointed as head coach and half the World Cup-winning squad will still be there for many years. Knowing Rassie, having played with him at the Cheetahs, he always has a plan and will do all he can to retain players. It’s exciting to see what’s going to happen and the next two years are going to be interesting.”