A new policy SA Rugby introduced is demanding of diaspora players to return to South Africa if they want to be considered for Springbok selection.
The policy which was agreed on by the Executive Council of SA Rugby in Cape Town today, stipulated that only overseas-based Springboks with more than 30 Test caps will be eligible for selection in future.
From our gathering, the policy will take effect on 1st of July 2017. It will ultimately, require players with fewer than 30 caps to return to South Africa if they desire to be considered for Springbok selection after the Castle Lager Incoming Series against France in June.
SA Rugby explained that the policy is a replacement for the existing selection process where any eligible player can be selected at the discretion of the Springbok coach.
However, the Springbok coach has the right to select any player he believes is important to his squad in a Rugby World Cup year regardless of number of caps.
Commenting, President of SA Rugby, Mark Alexander said:
“…We are sending a message to young players that if they wish to play for the Springboks, then they must remain in South Africa.
“But, we have also retained flexibility for the coach to select exceptional players who may be based overseas provided they have a proven track record of 30 Tests for the Springboks.”
Mark added that selecting a strong team has always posed problems due to the large number of diaspora players.
“How to balance the need to select the strongest possible team against the challenges of having such a large number of players based overseas has been a subject of long debate in our game.
“We have made this change in what we believe are the best interests of the Springbok team but we will review it periodically in conjunction with the national coach,” he added.