VIDEO: How Rassie deals with stubborn Euro teams
Having half your squad playing in Europe and Japan means the Springbok management often have to deal with some stubborn owners.
However, South Africa’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has come up with a very pragmatic and outré way of solving what is a prickly poser.
British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland had to do some serious bargaining with Premiership clubs to get players released for a pre-tour camp – ahead of their three-Test trip to South Africa.
Erasmus described the situation – of getting players released outside the Test window – as ‘interesting’.
“We have accepted the fact that we can’t fight against the currencies [decline of the Rand],” the SA Rugby boss said.
He added that they will never encourage players to leave South Africa.
“Three of them [if we were to attempt to retain them] will take up our entire budget.”
However, he has forged a good working relationship with most teams in Europe.
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“Ninety percent of the clubs we have a good working relationship with,” Erasmus said, adding: “Especially with Felix Jones and Andy Edwards that side [in Europe].
“They have been visiting those guys regularly.”
He admitted that players can only be selected for matches and formal camps once the Test window opens – which happens to be June 27.
However, the clubs that do have a good working relationship with the Bok management release players to return to South Africa to take part in planning and admin sessions.
“It does differ from club to club,” Erasmus said.
And they have taken it a step further and are being pragmatic about the future.
When a player wants to go abroad and want to stay in the Bok mix, he will be directed to the teams that are helpful and has a great high-performance programme.
Erasmus used teams like Irish province Munster, Premiership club Sale Sharks and French club Toulouse as examples.
“We will tell the players these [clubs] are good options.
“They have a great high-performance system, while their coaches and CEO are reasonable.
“We will encourage the players to join those clubs.
“Yes, there are other clubs who make it difficult, sometimes, for you.
“We will tell a player: ‘If you want to be considered for the Boks, you may want to have a second thought about that team’.
“Those are the clubs that are not normally forthcoming.”
With the international window opening on June 27, the Georgia Test matches – on July 2 and 9 – do fall within the international window.