Overseas policy won't stop player exodus - Bakkies

2017-03-10 14:26
Mark Alexander (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Springbok lock Bakkies Botha does not think that SA Rugby's new policy regarding the selection of overseas-based players for the national team will prevent players from leaving for greener pastures. 

SA Rugby confirmed last week that, as of July 1 this year, only overseas-based players who have more than 30 Test caps will be illegible for Springbok selection. 

The new policy also states that anyone and everyone - regardless of where they play and how many Test caps they have - will be available for Springbok selection in a Rugby World Cup year. 

Botha, who has 85 Test caps to his name, is not buying it.

"Personally, I don’t think it’s going to solve the problem," he told Sport24 in an exclusive interview.

"SA Rugby have applied this rule because they are clearly trying to pin down young players and discourage them from leaving the country.

"However, the player drain is still going to be a big issue because the rand can’t compete with the euro, pound and yen. The reality is that the rand can’t keep up to retain quality players in South Africa.

"France, in particular, is a country that throws money at SA players because they know that we like to train extremely hard and want to win trophies. With this ruling in mind, a young player will say to himself: 'Okay, I’ll head overseas for two seasons, see how it goes and maybe come back and have a chance to play for the Springboks.'

"However, he then enjoys the overseas experience so much he never returns home. I believe rugby is set to become a global sport and it’s starting to move in the direction of football in that sense. When national football teams come together they pool all their players from the different leagues around the world and start preparing.

"I feel that SA Rugby will have to continue to select overseas-based players because I don’t think we have enough home-grown talent in South Africa to prove a competitive force in world rugby. Some of our best talent is overseas and that will always be the case. How SA Rugby is going to find a way out of it is a mystery."

The Boks will play their first Test of the year on June 10 when they host France at Loftus Versfeld. 

Read more on:    springboks  |  bakkies botha  |  pretoria  |  rugby

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