Euro exodus: SA Rugby needs 'new' strategy
SPOTLIGHT: South Africa is going to continue losing talented players to cash-flush teams abroad unless there is a dramatic change in strategy.
This is the view of Willem Strauss, the Blue Bulls Rugby Union President.
He was reacting to confirmation of the departure of stalwart front row forward and Springbok Trevor Nyakane, who has signed with French club Racing 92 and will be following the well-trodden path to Europe in the coming days.
Nyakane, who was part of the 2019 World Cup-winning Springbok team, has played 54 Tests in the Green and Gold, while having amassed no fewer than 82 caps for the Bulls since his arrival at Loftus Versfeld from Bloemfontein in 2015.
Strauss certainly has some strong views on the growing exodus of young and active South African players heading abroad.
Top of his list is the declining value of the Rand against the powerful currencies abroad.
“When rugby went professional in 1995 the Rand was worth three to one against the dollar,” Strauss said.
“When we [the Bulls] won the Super 14 tournament for the third time in 2010, it was seven to one against the dollar.
“Now it is 15 to one..
“It makes it close to impossible to compete with overseas teams and their currencies.”
Straus said SA Rugby requires a rethink of its current policy of selecting players based abroad for the Springboks.
The door for foreign-based players was opened in 2018 – when Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber took charge of the national team.
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Previously there was a 35 Test capped limit.
Now it is unlimited.
Australia and New Zealand also have different approaches – with Australia’s Giteau law (65 Test caps) being eased and New Zealand sticking rigidly to their ‘no foreign’ rule.
“We desperately need a strategy in SA Rugby to keep talented players in this country,” Strauss said.
“Selecting uncapped players, based overseas, for the Boks, makes matters even worse,” he said.