Cape Town - Former Springbok and Bulls lock Krynauw Otto believes politics in the South African game has played a big part in several players leaving the country to play for overseas clubs.
Otto spoke exclusively to Sport24 this week and his comments came after Springbok wing Bryan Habana denied that players opt to head abroad just for the money.
Habana, who plays for French club Toulon, stressed that politics in rugby has been a factor contributing to the player drain, and Otto agrees.
"You can say people are competing against Europe and the poor rand, which makes it difficult," Otto said.
"I understand why some players leave and it might get difficult going forward. There should be structures put in place to keep players here... (but) I think there's just so much politics that leaves a bad taste in your mouth."
The 45-year-old former Bulls enforced feels a lack of proper development structures is proving problematic.
"It's difficult for players to commit to rugby in South Africa where we still lack in development and I don't think there's structures put in place.
"It's really disappointing to see and I don't think some players want to be a part of it. Players are excited over opportunities overseas, they beg their agents to let them leave the country. That's sad.
"We need to get that tradition and pride back in our game. But politics has dug itself so deep that I don't know if it can be saved.
"It's sad, rugby is our national sport and it has been the case in the last couple of years that it has become a racial thing. It's not..."
Otto played 38 Tests for the Springboks between 1995 and 2000.