Saffas heading abroad: Who will be impacted most?
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Every World Cup is always followed by a mass exodus of high profile players.
And this year, it is no different, especially for the South African fraternity.
Handre Pollard, Jesse Kriel and Lodewyk de Jager are just some of the names that will be missing from Super Rugby next year – which is a huge loss not only for South Africa, but the competition as well.
What’s more alarming is the relatively young age of the signings.
Gone are the days when players waited until they reach 30-something to head overseas. Now with the intense Southern Hemisphere schedule, internal competition and lucrative financial deals, playing in Europe and recently Japan has become more enticing.
Managing to land a Springbok is certainly a major boost for an overseas team, especially a Japanese side – while losing one could have horrendous implications.
How these signing will influence South African teams during next year’s Super Rugby remains to be seen.
Nonetheless, judging from the past, especially with the focus on the Lions, the future paints a bleak picture for the South Africans.
Over the last two years, the three-time Super Rugby finalist loss not only the services the of their head coach Johan Ackermann but they also had bid farewell to the players like Jaco Kriel, Francois de Klerk, Ruan Ackermann, Franco Mostert, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Ruan Dreyer.
Losing the majority of their starting XV made their current Super Rugby campaign very difficult. Unlike previous seasons, where they dominated the South African conference, the Johannesburg side is now currently fourth and in danger of missing the play-off phase – with just five rounds of the regular season remaining.
While, in terms of the Sharks, the loss of flyhalf Robert du Preez will be huge for the Durban side, but fortunately, they have Curwin Bosch to take up the role as the pivot.
On the other hand, the Bulls have potentially drawn the short straw when it comes to the transfer market. The Pretoria based is not only losing their marque player Pollard, but they also lose Springboks centre Kriel and lock duo Rudolph Snyman and De Jager, with a combined Test caps of 71 appearances.
In Cape Town, Stormers are not spared from the financial challenge of the overseas clubs. Aside from their ongoing boardroom misunderstandings and on-field mishaps, the side is rumoured the lose Springbok stalwart Eben Etzebeth to French Top14 side Toulon.
Despite having players like Salmaan Moerat and John Schickerling as cover, the loss of a 74 Test cap star will be a massive void to fill in the pack.
List of the South African post-World Cup transfers:
Handre Pollard to Montpellier (France) – confirmed
Jesse Kriel to Canon Eagles (Japan) – confirmed
Jason Jenkins to Canon Eagles (Japan) – confirmed
RG Snyman to Honda Heat (Japan) – confirmed
Lodewyk de Jager to Sale Sharks (England) – confirmed
Robert du Preez to Sale Sharks (England) – confirmed
Dan du Preez on loan to Sale Sharks (England) – confirmed
Jean-Luc du Preez on load to Sale Sharks (England) – confirmed
Coenie Oosthuizen to Sale Sharks (England) – confirmed
Akker van der Merwe to Sale Sharks (England) – confirmed
Sarel Marais to Canon Eagles (Japan) – Confirmed
Eben Etzebeth to Toulon (France) – not confirmed
Stephan Lewies to Harlequins (England) – confirmed
By Leezil Hendricks