SA Rugby working on policy for overseas Boks

Date published: June 6 2016

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South Africa are working on a plan to introduce a policy related to the selection of foreign-based players for internationals.

According to a Supersport report, SA Rugby's High Performance department were working on the plan earlier this year in which an incremental formula, which builds up towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, would be used.

Under the plan, foreign-based players with something like 25 caps would become eligible for the Springboks this year, in 2017 a player would have had to play in 35 Tests for his country, and then 45 in 2018.

If that policy was accepted and used, the plan was that all Test players had to be based in South Africa and playing Super Rugby if they wanted to be considered for selection during the World Cup year. 

There would also be an extra regulation governing uncapped players related to how long they played in South Africa, and thus repaid the debt to the country that taught them their rugby, before heading abroad.

The plan was not adopted though and it is understood that Coetzee wasn't keen to work within any rulings or conditions regarding foreign-based players during his first year. 

Coetzee has made it clear that he will only look at foreign-based players in areas where there are no South African-based players challenging strongly for positions.

However, Coetzee confirmed in Cape Town on Sunday that a policy is being worked on.

“We are busy at SA Rugby formulating a policy and when we are ready with that we will communicate it to the media and to the players,” he told reporters in Cape Town ahead of Saturday's Test with Ireland in Cape Town.

Duane Vermuelen and Francois Louw – two of the three foreign-based players in Coetzee's first Springbok squad – are set to benefit if the policy, as outlined above, is adopted as they have already won 35 and 43 Test caps respectively.

The third overseas-baed player in the current Bok squad, Steven Kitshoff, is a different story though and once he plays his first Test for the Springboks, which will rule him out of  international rugby for France -where he plies his trade – later on, there will be an extra reason for him to return to South Africa.

Supersport reports that sources within Western Province Rugby confirmed that there are plans afoot to bring Kitshoff back to the Cape Town union for the 2017 Super Rugby season.

Kitshoff is rated highly by Coetzee and the Boks' new forwards coach, Matt Proudfoot, who worked with him when he was an assistant coach at the Stormers.

“The moment he came to us (at the Stormers) we knew he was a guy with phenomenal talent,” said Proudfoot.

“He started playing senior rugby when he was just 19 and he was so well developed and prepared to handle the rigours of top level rugby. You just knew he had the mental capabilities. 

"He is both very aggressive and accurate, and knows when to be aggressive and put in a big effort and when not to, and that’s what you look for in a prop. We know what we get from him and he will be around for a long time to come.”

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