David van der Merwe talks about overseas based players and whether or not they should be considered to play for the springboks.
With so many of South Africa’s top rugby players leaving the country tho ply their trade overseas, this has become a discussion point again. A discussion that is not only taking place around the braai but also in the boardrooms of SA Rugby. Even our captain has his view.
Currently it is a sticky point. The All Blacks has made it clear: “Either play in New Zealand or kiss the All Black jersey goodbye.” In South Africa it has always been a situation of selecting only one or two players.
Not an issue I say. Rugby players has a limited career and need to make their money while they can. I mean if a rival company overseas offers me a salary ten times what I’m earning now, I’m going to grab the opportunity. I can always come back later and take up a higher position in SA. No one will flinch or have anything to say. The experience I’ve gained will be to the benefit of all. Why not rugby players?
Well I do have one problem. Currently we don’t have an international rugby season with an international window as we see in soccer. This makes it cumbersome. Players are only available for Bok selection if clubs release them. There are certain windows when clubs have to release players, but that is only in June and November and during the World Cup.
I feel that should a player want to be eligible for Springbok selection while playing overseas he must negotiate his contract in such a manner that he will be available for all tests. Even those outside the normal international windows. Francois Louw is a good example as is JP Pietersen. Their contracts is of such a nature that they will be available when called up for Springbok duty. That is fine with me.
Fourie du Preez is the other side of the coin. To be told he is only available for certain tests means that someone else, in this case Piet van Zyl or Jano Vermaak, has to sit out for the tests he is not available. They are however good enough to play when he is not around. That to me is a huge problem.
If you want to play overseas and be av ailable for the Springboks it must be available for all tests. It is unfair towards the players playing their hearts out in SA to be told we will select you only when the other guy is not released. It sends a message that you are not good eneough but we will use you when we don’t have a choice. It also disrupts team sinergy and continuity.
For now we have to take what we can get, but SARU, not Heyneke Meyer, should decide on this and implement the regulation pertaining to all. This is however just my view.
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