By DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
South African interests are reported to be looking to start rugby’s version of T-20 and are targeting international stars including All Blacks for a lucrative competition they hope to have running in 2012.
Former Springbok flanker Rassie Eramsus, currently director of coaching at the Western Province Rugby Union in Cape Town, is said to be the brains behind the idea.
He is hoping to cash in on the success of cricket’s IPL.
The matches would be played in two 20-minute halves with rules amended to reduce kicking.
The Rapport newspaper in South Africa reported that the new World Cup football stadiums in Cape Town and Durban could host the matches.
The report suggested an eight-team league with more than 200 of the world’s top players involved.
It listed All Blacks superstars Richie McCaw and Dan Carter as targets along with some of the biggest names in the game.
Apparently the targeted players have national contracts that expire in 2011.
The tournament would supposedly be played in January.
The move would come on the back of next year’s World Cup in New Zealand.
With New Zealand, Australian and South African players traditionally involved in Super 15 training in January and Europe’s best in the Six Nations mix, there is a whiff of revolution in the air here.
If the backers can produce the mega-money on offer in cricket's IPL, rugby’s version could certainly prove lucrative.
Proponents of the T-20 series suggest it could be a way for southern hemisphere countries to help fight the player drain north.
The tournament, with big financial rewards, could provide a quick-fix for top players to boost their earnings and remain free to play Down Under.