Bulls have two Cheetahs on their wishlist
NEWS: The Blue Bulls have set their sights on loaning Frans Steyn from the Cheetahs for the upcoming Pro16 season, which kicks off in March.
They’re also looking into the loaning of promising young player Junior Pokomela – the Cheetahs’stand-in captain.
Both players have popped up on the Bulls radar since the Cheetahs have lost their place in the expanded Pro16 tournament and will be forced to participate tier two domestic.
Afrikaans weekly Rapport newspaper reported on the Bulls’ interest in loaning the 33-year-old Steyn for 2021 – as long as he, the Cheetahs and SA Rugby approve the move.
SA Rugby’s approval is especially necessary, as both players have national contracts.
With the British & Irish Lions tour looming in 2021, playing in the Pro16 might be Steyn’s only path of getting into the Springbok side.
With the Cheetahs having been downgraded to playing in the SA Cup – along with the absence of top players from the Bulls, Sharks, Lions and Stormers in this competition – it would make it highly unlikely for anybody competing in it to be chosen for the national side.
The Cheetahs, however, have said that it’s too early to speculate on whether they are prepared to loan a player of Steyn’s calibre to a Top16 side.
The promising 23-year old Pokomela is not only attracting interest from local franchises – there are also a number of overseas clubs that are looking at him as well.
Pokomela, along with fellow Cheetahs Steyn, Luan De Bruin, Malcolm Jaer and Rosko Specman were selected by the Springbok coaches to participate in the Green versus Gold match which took place at Newlands earlier in the year.
To keep their Bok dreams alive, it would seem that Steyn & Co, would need to turn out for a Pro16 side this coming season.
(Continue below …)
Rapport also reported that the big four franchises (Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions) might be forced into selecting some amateur players for domestic competitions – as the Pro16, Varsity Cup and Under-21 competitions will overlap with the SA Cup.
South African unions are only allowed to have 45 professional players on contract.
This means that they will have to draw from their amateur club players in order to fill their ranks, while competing in the SA Cup.
Due to the hectic schedule for the 2021 season, the four large unions are in discussion with SA Rugby to obtain permission which will allow them to contract more than 45 professional players.
In the meantime, the Cheetahs have to qualify for the 2021 Currie Cup and this might push them to decide to keep their players and not let them be loaned out.