Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Jake White has explained how a big decision taken by Japanese Rugby will ultimately benefit the Currie Cup.
In his column for All Out Rugby, White examines how Japan's decision to strengthen the national side for the 2019 Rugby World Cup will mean that, from next season, fewer South Africans will take short-team deals in that country during the Currie Cup window.
From 2018, Japan coach Jamie Joseph will also coach the Sunwolves in Super Rugby, but, more significantly, the owners of the teams in Japan's Top League have all agreed to let their national players play for the Sunwolves.
In addition to this, White says, the national players will be managed carefully in the build-up to 2019 and this means them missing even more Top League action.
In fact, Japanese rugby has scrapped the 2019 Top League completely in order to best prepare for the World Cup, and that is where the Currie Cup stands to benefit.
With the 2019 Top League pushed back to January 2020 to accommodate preparation for the World Cup, South African-based players will not be available for a Japanese stint in 2019 or in 2020.
That, White says, will impact on South African players signing deals with Japanese clubs.
With a one-year deal - 2018 - the only real Japanese option for South Africans right now, White believes more players will commit to their local unions and the Currie Cup.
Currently coaching Top League side Toyota Verblitz, White also revealed how he had tried, while he was Springbok coach, to do something similar with the Kings to what Japan are currently doing with the Sunwolves.
READ: JAKE WHITE'S ALL OUT RUGBY COLUMN