In the aftermath of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship final, Jake White says the Springboks must change the criteria for selection to help keep the current Vodacom Bulls squad intact.
An 18-13 loss to the Stormers in the URC decider at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday was evidently a difficult defeat for an emotional White to process, but it could get even tougher on the Bulls director of rugby, with a number of senior players set to leave Loftus Versfeld.
Stalwart flank Arno Botha is set to take up a contract with Lyon and will be joined in France by wing Madosh Tambwe who, while still harbouring Bok ambitions, has been linked with Bordeaux.
Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee, currently part of the Bok 43-man squad for the upcoming Test season, has been linked with a potential move to Japan in order to boost his earnings.
When World Cup-winning tighthead prop Trevor Nyakane left the Bulls for French club Racing 92, White said a discussion was needed over SA Rugby’s policy of not having any limits on selecting overseas-based players for the Boks.
Only 18 players in the current Bok squad are based in Europe or Japan – not counting Stormers-bound hooker Joseph Dweba – but White believes the policy will still have a negative impact on the local URC franchises. “It shouldn’t be allowed,” he said.
“They can’t be overseas and then come back and be a Springbok. It cheapens everything we stood for,” added White, before pointing out that during his tenure as Bok coach he had to convince fullback Percy Montgomery to return home from Wales in order to play for the national team.
Montgomery played a crucial role in the 2007 World Cup win, finishing as the tournament’s top points-scorer with 105.
“The reality is quite simple. Why would you stay in SA?” White asked.
“Ask every guy if he’d work in London for double his salary or stay here, and the answer would generally be the same because they can come back and play for the Boks, too.
“Obviously, I’m excited about the future, but how do I know that these guys are going to be in the change room in four years’ time?”
Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix
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