Springboks Impose Radical New Rule To Prevent Losing Players To Overseas Clubs
It’s about bloody time.
The Springboks will only be able to select overseas players who have more than 30 international caps from July 1, in a policy aimed at protecting the domestic game.
The country has suffered a player drain in recent years as clubs in England, France and Japan provide lucrative alternatives for young South Africans. The Top 14 especially has a huge roster of Springboks stars at its disposal.
The new ruling, which will be put in place after the three-match home series with France in June, will not apply however in Rugby World Cup years.
“We are sending a message to young players that if they wish to play for the Springboks, then they must remain in South Africa,” said SA Rugby president Mark Alexander.
“But we have also retained flexibility for the coach to select exceptional players who may be based overseas provided they have a proven track record of 30 Tests for the Springboks.
“How to balance the need to select the strongest possible team against the challenges of having such a large number of players based overseas has been a subject of long debate in our game.”
Players who would be affected include Saracens prop Vincent Koch and Ulster forward Marcell Coetzee.
England, New Zealand and Ireland strictly only pick players who play their rugby nationally, while Wales are only permitted four wildcards. The Wallabies have a policy where players must have 60 caps in order to be considered if playing abroad.