Cape Town -- The Springboks are once again likely to field a
match-day squad on Saturday liberally sprinkled with overseas-based players ...
but SARU has reiterated its green light for coach Heyneke Meyer’s approach to the
South Africa tackle Australia in the Castle Rugby
Championship at Newlands (17:00) and the Bok match 23, to be revealed later on
Wednesday, is likely to feature at least seven players already based with
foreign clubs and another, Zane Kirchner, who very shortly dons a Leinster
But SARU CEO Jurie Roux has confirmed to Sport24 that the
organisation is on the same page as Meyer over the policy, while admitting that
“there is a more than average number” (of overseas-based players) in the mix
Speaking during an in-depth interview with this writer a few
days ago, Roux said: “It is a fear internally as well. We’ve got more than
usual right now, but that’s partly because many of the guys played half of the
year domestically (in Super Rugby) and then left -- you can’t simply take a dozen
or so Springboks out of the team suddenly and then start with a fresh side.
“Hopefully the number of overseas players being selected
will taper down as the new crop of youngsters comes through for contention in
He also said it was unrealistic to draw straight comparisons
between South Africa’s reasonably flexible approach and the tougher stance
adopted by the likes of SANZAR partners New Zealand and Australia.
“If anyone thinks we are (more open to) selecting overseas
players than Australia or New Zealand, you must remember that for proximity to
Europe we are so much closer in time zone terms – for the other SANZAR
countries to pick players based in England, for instance, for a Test match is
much less feasible as the amount of travel and adjustment involved makes it
much more (unattractive).
“The only place those countries can perhaps offset it a bit
is for picking players from Japan, which is much closer to them in every
“Yes, we are a bit more open to the practice at the moment
but that’s more a short-term thing than anything else.
“The internal rule very much remains: if there’s a better
Bok inside the country, you select him first. There’s always the drive for the
Roux praised the Bok coach for “working very well within the
structures”, saying Meyer would not be selecting players from abroad if he did
not have the permission to do so.
“He put a case forward, we listened and said ‘this is
acceptable for the moment’. But we will revisit that for every tour, every time
we have to examine (the issue).
“Heyneke does get challenged on it ... by selectors, by the
technical committee. It will never be a free-for-all.
“Being ignorant to our geographical position in the world, a
comfortable enough flight away from so many places, and the currency people can
earn even for a short-term contract abroad, is also counter-productive.
“Another phenomenon to bear in mind is that the really good
players never stay (overseas) for that long ... they tend to come back quite
“And do you want a winning team or not? Yes, there are
arguments within (that argument), but it is also not something you can blithely
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