Jean defends Irish ‘exodus’

2012-06-27 15:14

Cape Town - The current trend of prominent South African rugby players switching to Irish clubs needs to be put in perspective, Springbok captain Jean de Villiers said on Wednesday.

Gallery: Stormers prepare for Lions

De Villiers was speaking at a Newlands media briefing where the Stormers announced their side - including two first-time starters at flank in Don Armand and Tyrone Holmes - to play the Lions in a Super Rugby match at the venue on Saturday.

Apart from confirming that budding lock Quinn Roux, who is on the bench for the Lions encounter, was indeed Leinster-bound for a year but potentially returning, coach Allister Coetzee also revealed that reasonably peripheral wing Danie Poolman had been released to Connacht - on a longer-term deal possibly with a view to qualifying as an Irish international.

Just a few days ago, up-and-coming Bulls loose forward CJ Stander also signalled his intentions to ply his trade on the Emerald Isle.

De Villiers can speak with good experience of the Irish landscape because he spent some time with Munster about three years back.

“I really enjoyed my experience over there and I would encourage every single guy to do that (play in Europe) at some stage of his career,” he said.

“I think he would be stupid not to. You can base yourself in a foreign country, earn good money, travel the world and then still come back to South Africa.

“A lot of kids when they do a gap year, go overseas and have a bit of a ‘jol’ ... as a rugby player you can still do your job and live there at the same time. It’s a great experience but you have to do it for the right reasons.”

Referring to Stander’s decision to abandon Loftus, De Villiers said: “A guy like CJ ... it’s also sometimes a business decision and (can depend) on how you’re being looked after at a particular union.

“I don’t know his situation, but at the end of the day you can’t keep absolutely everyone. That’s the problem. At some stage you have to let go of a talented player.”

Coetzee said Roux saw his Irish adventure as a chance to “improve as a young lock”.

Whilst Roux had developed “brilliantly well” at the Stormers, he was behind four other second-rowers in the current pecking order.

“I’m very OK with this because he’s coming back to us. He’s only signed a year’s contract. By end of May (2013) we’ll probably have a Quinn Roux who’s played a lot of rugby, played with experienced locks like All Black Brad Thorn ... it’s actually good for his development.

“It’s not as though Quinn is parting ways with the Stormers. First option is to come back. You go and ask him - there’s no other province he’d prefer to return to.”

Coetzee added: “This place will always produce talented young players and you simply can’t retain them all. Sometimes you have young players on your books and you simply don’t know what to do with all of them.

“Sometimes you have to release players. Conrad Hoffman, Johann Sadie ... it doesn’t (necessarily) come back to bite you.”

Another South African, the former Cheetahs hooker Richardt Strauss, 26, is currently representing Leinster and rumoured to be seeking a place in the Irish national team - he has already trained among their broader squad.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • Neutedop - 2012-06-27 15:36

    Fair enough, and well handled. Like any company, you have a budget, and can't employ more personal than you can pay for.

      lance.elliott.3914 - 2012-06-27 16:37

      Fair game..let your employee go to a company that will give him experience, pay him more than your company and have him return in better shape. Alternatively he would have sat on the bench in the Cape and probably be bought by another local union and possibly stayed there...Every game could be a player$ la$t, good luck and enjoy !

      grenville.felton - 2012-06-27 17:56

      If these guys go for the buck sobeit if they going with view to play for other countries good luck play, we are fortunate to have such a huge pool of talented rugby player that its enevitable that we will loose some to other nations some are not great losers. Barrit and Botha and the rest of them currently appling there trade in other countries would never have made the Boks so all i say is to be a Bok is an honour and a privlidge.

      atholl.canterbury - 2012-06-27 20:11

      Agree 100% Every sport is moving in the same direction .... where the skill of the player (entertainer) allows him maximum benefit. The skill of : ...... a movie star, singer .. or ...... rugby, soccer, cricket, hockey, netball, swimming, tennis, golf ... ... allows the equipment manufacturers .. and the advertisers to maximize their profit. So why cant the skilled entertainers maximize their 'time in the arena'. So what if the Bulls field 2 All Blacks and are coached by an Aussie ? Cricket has moved in that direction and even crossed 'professions' --- cricket & Movie Stars combined.

      Lance - 2012-06-28 09:11

      @ Grenville...the ones that leave with the intention to play for other countries can go, In their hearts they probably know they will never be of Bok material so choose to leave witht the hope of next best play for a developing rugby nation...When they end up playing against the Boks we all know what will happen :-) Oh well as the saying goes.., take the money and run !

  • harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-27 15:39

    I'm sure all these youngsters leaving, will actually honour their respective contracts and not run back to mommy before the contract ends, like de Villiers did.

      Tom - 2012-06-27 15:47

      He will come back next year to be part of the team that wins 91% oftheir games with no bonus points and falls short once again classic. All that Irish brad thorn experience for nothing, poor guy

      johan.blertsie.cilliers - 2012-06-27 15:49

      @isak It is seeking attention

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-27 16:04

      It is stating the facts.

      Pietskiet - 2012-06-27 16:05


      ray.stadlerjd1 - 2012-06-27 16:28

      Hey Isak, isn’t it obvious they wnt to be stormers, How can u comment on every stormer article and do extensive research on the history, and current affairs, no more about what's going on down west than up north, The bitterness is just a front, They might even be applying for work at DHL, well guys welcome :)

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-27 16:29

      I'll rather become a spietkop.

      1amAlan - 2012-06-27 17:37

      Harold, you are a real tool.

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-27 17:51

      Thanks Alan.

      gavin.wrensch - 2012-06-28 07:20

      and our local porn star, Joost van der Westhuizen who didn't even leave the country!!!!

      gavin.wrensch - 2012-06-28 07:31

      Oops almost forgot our very own Springbok coach did a 'runner' at Leicester and our home sick mommy's-boy Victor Matfield. Just wish Pierre Spies will follow Wynand to Japan and honour their contracts.

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-28 09:05

      Gavin, Heyneke's inlaws were both dying of cancer. Good enough reason to bail if you ask me. Victor had a 6 month contract, which he honoured. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.

      gavin.wrensch - 2012-06-28 22:06

      @Harold, ignorance is bliss but clearly you don't let the truth get in the way of a good story!!! As posted on Planet Rugby on 20 June 2007: "Ambitious French club Toulon has revealed that new Springbok captain Victor Matfield has signed a two-year deal to join them after the World Cup - ahead of the next European season.",25883,9818_2430403,00.html

      gavin.wrensch - 2012-06-28 22:30

      @Harold, as for Joost, as posted on 04 Sept 2001: NEWPORT have denounced South African Test scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen after he rejected a move to Rodney Parade. Grainger said: "On a personal level, the words frustrated, disappointed and annoyed all come to mind. I feel the way Tony Brown (the club's financial backer) treats the players is with 100 per cent respect and understanding and that has been the case with Joost. In terms of Joost's behaviour, his communication has been disappointingly poor and his respect for Tony has been shameful." Gary Botha: as posted on 28 Sept 2009, "Harlequins have announced the departure of their South African international forward Gary Botha. Quins and Botha, who has been at the club for two seasons, have mutually agreed an early release from his contract so he can return to South Africa with his family.

  • shaun.reece.3 - 2012-06-28 16:02

    If theyre playing for an overseas club thats fine but as soon as they put on a different national rugby jersey theyre dead to me. England and Ireland should at least be forced to pay SARU back the money they spent to develop those players otherwise it would make more economic sence to scrap our development funding and rather just bye the 15 best players in the world. Harold shut up, we get it youre jealous of the stormers now piss off.

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