Overseas Boks called home

The 7 European based Boks have been called back by their clubs and will not play in the Test against Scotland in PE this weekend as it falls outside of the International Test window.

Gurthrö Steenkamp, Schalk Brits, Bakkies Botha, Francois Louw, Morné Steyn, Wynand Olivier and Bryan Habana will all thus not be available for the Test against the Scots.

Hence the call up of Handre Pollard and Adriaan Strauss … And the questioning of the policy to select the overseas based Boks. It’s a big call for a coach not to have every available player available to him all the time. Instead the clubs dictate their availability.

Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU, explained that the Test against Scotland falls outside of the international window prescribed by the IRB.

“We have reached agreement with the South African provinces and certain clubs that their players may be made available for the match,” said Roux.

“The French and English clubs have exercised their right to withdraw their players from the Test and we respect and understand that.

“We will still travel to Port Elizabeth with a strong squad and will only consider calling up more replacements if necessitated by injury”, said coach Heyeneke Meyer.

“The players in the squad who have not yet featured in one of our three matches this month have worked very hard. I’m a believer in earning opportunities and I feel that some of them deserve a chance to play for the Springboks against Scotland as they’ve now become accustomed to how we play and won’t let their country down.”

One has to wonder if he really means that, or is his hand being forced given the circumstances?

Defending the decision to pick overseas based player, Roux went on to say that “All the matches during Rugby Championship fall within the IRB window and players based in Europe and South Africa will be available for selection.

“Because of the special nature of the Japanese season and the way in which it is structured, we have worked with these clubs to have players available for Springbok duty on an individual basis. That means Schalk Burger, Fourie du Preez and JP Pietersen will be available for certain matches, as agreed with their clubs.

“All Rugby World Cup matches next year fall within an international window and therefore all South African qualified players based anywhere will be available for selection.”