Johannesburg - SA Rugby’s 30-Test rule is not set in stone and there is a possibility that the eligibility rule for players to be overseas, but still qualify for Springbok selection, might be higher in future.
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux told supersport.com he is still in two minds whether the rule, passed last month and which comes into force on July 1, will be able to stop the players from leaving these shores in the droves they have over the past few years.
Instead, Roux said there are plans being made for structural changes to the national body that will assist local teams to be able to retain their players better.
And with the national indabas already underlining the need for co-operation between provinces, the spectre of teams drafting players has again come to the forefront.
“As for the players, we get criticised a lot about the players and why we can’t keep players in this country. Everyone thinks about money, but the players don’t only make decisions about money. They make choices about other things, about cultural experiences, they make family choices,” Roux said, adding that the 30-Test rule was only the “first step” in the plan to retain players for the Springboks.
“Every journalist in the country has told us already that we need to limit the amount of Tests a player can play before they are eligible for the Boks, so we’ve done that. That is the first step, I can see it will change, perhaps 50, and later more. I’d like to see if the advice everyone gave us works, or if it doesn’t work that the guys will admit it doesn’t work.”
Roux hinted that the rumour that SARU was looking at the number of provinces that will remain professional in future is something that is currently being discussed, and that would follow whatever model is adopted for Super Rugby.
“We are busy with those steps and I think the structural changes we brought into SA Rugby at the end of last year in terms of franchise and non-franchise, you can read into that professional and semi-professional.
“If our franchises can’t work together and say we need to share players, we need to share players and make sure the best players are playing the game. If we can’t do that, then the whole question is futile.”
The current Test rule stipulates that players who have played 30 Tests or more for the Springboks, can be based overseas and be eligible for selection. It follows a similar rule, although more stringent, from Australia that players with 70 Tests will be eligible for the Wallabies.
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