As investments go, it was hardly appealing. An outfit run by amateurs who had spent their way into debt and had mortgaged to the hilt its properties, among them a decaying Newlands HQ. The only asset worth a look was not a fixed one: a team of talented rugby players, the Stormers, and their coaching staff who understood the business of winning.

If the team — the union’s cash cow — was to continue to flourish, or even function, in an era of professionalism, drastic action would be needed to free it from the albatross of amateurs...

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