Johannesburg - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will use a few overseas-based players for the Test series against England in June, but may well be forced to use a totally local squad for the Castle Rugby Championship later in the year.
The Tests against England fall under Regulation 9 of the International Rugby Board, meaning clubs have to release any players selected for the national squad, but the Rugby Championship does not, and the South African Rugby Union will have to negotiate their release for the four nations tournament.
Meyer has made it clear that he will be choosing the best side available for the England Tests, but has already declined to invite any overseas based players to the training camps as it is simply not viable.
“Most of the players overseas really want to play for their country. There are many more administrative challenges though with getting them here. According to the IRB Regulations, we can invite the players in the week of a Test match and they have to be here,” Meyer said.
“You can’t unfortunately bring the guys in for the training camps as many of them have contracts and agreements with their respective clubs overseas. SA Rugby do have a list of names and they are busy negotiating with their respective clubs. It is difficult to just call someone in from overseas though.
“I had a number of good discussions with players that are overseas. There are a number of players putting their hands up for selection, both overseas and here but there is a fine line in selection. We will know shortly who is available and when they are available.”
Meyer said while he was definitely interested in some players, the bulk of the squad would come out of the five franchises currently playing Super Rugby. And that means against England experience will be key.
“I’m definitely looking at some overseas players, especially against England I want to play the best available team. Experience will play a big role in this, but as you know it isn’t as easy to just get players here. Everyone is very positive at the moment so I hope we can keep this energy flowing behind the team.”
South Africa face England in the first of three Tests on June 9 in Durban.