South African players in Japan’s Top League cannot be considered for selection for the Springboks’ year-end tour.
‘Players from Japan are not available,’ Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer told keo.co.za. This rules out any chance Meyer had of selecting scrumhalf Fourie du Preez, midfielder Jaque Fourie or utility forward Danie Rossouw, all of whom he still rates highly and had hoped would be available for selection.
Du Preez had been in discussion with his club Suntory Sungoliath around details of a new contract that he had hoped would accommodate his desire to play Test rugby again. With Francois Hougaard’s kicking game considered too weak for continued selection as a scrumhalf and Ruan Pienaar still developing this aspect of his game, Meyer was banking on Du Preez’s return to strengthen a facet of their play that has been sub-standard to date.
Rossouw’s experience and versatility is seen as a boon by the selectors, while Fourie, who would have been Meyer’s first-choice outside centre had he opted to stay in South Africa, has been sorely missed. Fourie did, however, indicate to this website last week that he would return to South Africa in 2015 to challenge for a place in the World Cup squad.
Du Preez is unlikely to follow the same path. Upon signing the deal to move to Japan he cited his desire to play less matches and spend more time with his family as strong motivators in his decision. Meyer feels the 30-year-old can play an important role with the team leading into the World Cup in England.