SA exodus to increase?

2014-09-17 13:15
Former Springbok scrumhalf Neil de Kock plays for Saracens (Getty Images)
Johannesburg - With an ailing rand hardly helping matters, the mass exodus of top rugby talent is set to increase as cash-hungry clubs in the United Kingdom look to increase their spending on top overseas talent following an increase in the salary cap given to British clubs by the Premiership, the website reports.

With France and Japan leading the way in big-money salaries, the Premiership has upped the ante, even though they still won’t come close to some of the massive salaries paid to top talent in France and Japan.

Premiership clubs will receive an extra £500 000 (around R9m) on their salary caps for the upcoming season, making their overall maximum wage figure now £5.5m (around R98m) and an increase of a million pounds over the past two seasons.

But the more interesting move is the decision taken that clubs in the Premiership can now sign a second “marquee player” whose wages can fall outside the gap. The big change is that this player needs to come from outside the Premiership.

With this in mind, the Premiership has basically given the green light for clubs to actively hunt top Southern Hemisphere talent with the freedom of not having a salary cap in their way.

The money comes from the improved television deal with BT Sport, which has made the British clubs cash flash and will allow them to target a number of players at the end of the World Cup cycle next year.

With the Springboks actively using their European-based players, there is no way that local Super Rugby outfits can compete.

New Zealand and Australian talent will also be targeted, but with their currency a lot stronger than the rand they at least have a better chance of competing for their players.

Wales have also stepped up their cash component and will be actively looking to counter the French clubs in particular while the other Celtic nations are actively recruiting foreigners into their teams.

Ireland and Scotland have already signed a number of South Africans with lucrative tax incentives on top of the pounds and the first batch will turn out for the two nations next year at the World Cup.

If selected the likes of WP Nel, Josh Strauss, Danie Poolman, Quinn Roux and perhaps even CJ Stander (his eligibility date may still be a question) are all likely to come into contention.

France, meanwhile, are in danger of becoming a united nations team, with the likes of Bernard le Roux and Antonie Claassen already playing for them. A pre-training squad revealed earlier in the week included 10 possible foreigners to be considered for selection.

South Africans on the list included Scott Spedding, Rory Kockott and Bok Flip van der Merwe’s brother Francois. Australian flyhalf Brock James, England’s Steffon Armitage and Samoan David Smith are also on the list.

As Sanzar continues to mull expansion to an 18-team format, with the possible introduction of an Asian and Argentinean team, the prospect remains clear that much of the top Bok talent will be playing overseas, if not now then after the World Cup.

Read more on:    rugby

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