Johannesburg - It is an “unrealistic expectation” to think that the South African Rugby Union can keep all its top talent in this country, SARU Chief executive Jurie Roux said.
According to the supersport.com website, after a season where both Ireland and Scotland have targeted rising talent to play in their local leagues with a view of qualifying for the country, Roux reacted to the latest spate of signings which could well see South Africans qualify for their adopted countries ahead of the 2015 World Cup.
This week former Lions captain Josh Strauss became the latest departure to Glasgow with a view of qualifying for Scotland. Later this year, another two South Africans – former Cheetah Richardt Strauss and former WP No 8 Robbie Diack will qualify to play for Ireland and could well face the Springboks in November on their end of year tour.
Ireland have adopted a policy of searching out top young talent to place with Irish provinces, and who are financially assisted by the Irish Rugby Union.
Bulls flank CJ Stander was the first such player to sign this year, and has professed to be unable to turn down the massive financial offer he was given to go to Ireland.
Other than the former SA Under-20 captain, WP winger Danie Poolman has also been lured to Ireland, as has lock Quinn Roux, although the latter’s agents insist he will return to the Stormers next year to continue his development there.
There have been others, with Lion Jacobie Adriaanse and Kings lock Johan Snyman both signing for the Scarletts in Wales and former Cheetahs tighthead WP Nel currently with Edinburgh and also eyeing a qualification for Scotland later this year.
While player movement abroad is nothing new to South Africans, especially in a professional era, there is a growing concern that the Home Unions are systematically targeting young South African talent, using the lure of the Pound and Euro, as mechanisms to have them qualify for the said country.
Australia has also sent scouts to schools weeks in South Africa, and has, on a lesser level, tried to recruit young South African talent. In addition to this former Springbok coach Jake White is currently searching for a lock to contract to the Brumbies with a view of playing for Australia in the next few years.
Despite this, SARU CEO Jurie Roux believes the danger is not as apparent and says is it unrealistic to expect a country such as South Africa to keep all its talent.