Rassie given right to pick players from anywhere for Springboks

All overseas-based South African players are eligible for Springbok selection after SA Rugby’s Executive Leadership scrapped the 30-Test restriction.

The restriction was always going to be lifted for the 2019 Rugby World Cup Year, but SA Rugby President Mark Alexander confirmed it had been decided to bring it forward by a season.

Alexander said every opportunity had to be created for Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus to access all player options.

Erasmus’s predecessor Allister Coetzee was allowed to select any player in his first year in charge in 2016, but in 2017 the restriction was put in place. It has only been to the disadvantage of the Springboks and South African rugby as clubs had targeted uncapped players or those with less than 30 Test caps.

Erasmus a few months ago indicated that he was realistically considering no more than 10 of the 300-plus South African players based abroad.

This included the likes of Faf de Klerk and Vincent Koch, who have played less than 30 Tests.

Willie le Roux (Wasps), De Klerk (Sale) and Juan de Jongh (Wasps) are among those expected to be included in Erasmus’s June international selections.

The French-based players in the mix are veterans Bismarck du Plessis, Pat Lambie and Jan Serfontein, all of whom had played 30-plus Tests. Montpellier’s Frans Steyn and Toulon’s Duane Vermeulen will also feature in build-up to the Rugby World Cup.


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