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Bulls boss Jake White calls on the Springboks to stop selecting overseas players

Jake White

Bulls director of rugby Jake White has called on the Springboks to stop selecting overseas players in an effort to stop talent leaving South African clubs.

South Africa started selecting an unlimited number of overseas players in 2018, regardless of whether or not they had already won a certain number of caps for the Springboks, after a dire couple of years for the national team.

The decision reaped dividends for the Springboks almost immediately, as the influx of overseas players helped them enormously, resulting in their 2019 Rugby World Cup success.

However, White argued that the policy of selecting overseas players should be ended immediately in an interview with SA Rugby Mag.

Jake White on the Springboks overseas players selection policy.

“Now is a good time, before the next contracting cycle, for SA Rugby to draw a line on picking players who are contracted to overseas clubs,” White said.

“South Africa are world champions and SA Rugby did something that has worked because, in 2018 when Rassie Erasmus was appointed, the current cycle of Springbok players were all overseas. But we can’t allow that with the next cycle of players.

“South African franchises have basically become academies for overseas clubs. Because the top senior talent is overseas, we play juniors from school who wouldn’t otherwise have been involved in senior rugby, and then when those youngsters are 21 or 22, they’ve got experience under the belt and the overseas clubs sign them and have them for the peak of their careers.”

Players are leaving South African clubs in large numbers.

South African players have left their home country to play for overseas clubs in growing numbers over the last few years, as European and Japanese salaries prove to be too hard to resist for many.

The majority of the Springboks squad is now made up of players who ply their trade in either Europe or Japan, while two of the Bulls’ best players – Duane Vermuelen and Trevor Nyakane – just recently signed for Ulster and Racing 92 respectively.

The South African clubs have struggled to deal with the multiple high-profile departures, which has been evident in their disappointing performances in the United Rugby Championship so far.

While preventing overseas players from playing for the Springboks may convince some to remain in their home country, the rule was largely unsuccessful in stopping South African players from looking for work abroad in the past.

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