Jake White on ‘selling point’ that could bring Springboks home, reveals UK-based player met with him about returning to South Africa

Simon Thomas
Bulls boss Jake White.

Bulls boss Jake White looks on.

Bulls director of rugby Jake White has revealed he spoke to a player based in the UK who is interested in returning home to South Africa in the near future.

White was talking ahead of their United Rugby Championship clash with Cardiff and thinks their involvement in the competition is changing players’ mindsets.

The Bulls boss feels the fact the country’s four franchises are now competing in Europe will serve as a real “selling point” for recruiting big-name Springboks.

Spoke with UK-based player

“I had an interview this week with a player who plays, not in Wales, but in the UK,” he revealed ahead of Friday’s clash with the Welsh side at the Arms Park.

“He came to see me about returning back to South Africa. One of the selling points is we are now playing in Europe. We are not playing Super Rugby.

“We are closer to home, we can feel what it’s like to be in the northern hemisphere, we understand northern hemisphere rugby. That’s a selling point for these players to want to come back to South Africa. Especially now that it’s post the Rugby World Cup. I understand players, they go out and make money.

“But with the new cycle of South African rugby, trying to pick a new Springboks side, maybe being at home and playing in front of your home crowd, being seen every week and being in the loop is going to be a positive thing and that will help the franchises.

“For those guys in the wilderness, playing at clubs abroad that people don’t really watch, maybe the way forward is to get them to come back to South Africa and play well in front of the supporters.”

The Bulls director of rugby is particularly eager to see a return to South African shores for the stars who lifted the Webb Ellis trophy for the Boks in France.

Bringing Springboks home

“We need to attract those World Cup-winning Springboks back to play in the franchises,” White said.

“It’s wonderful they have done so well, but I would love to tap into that experience by bringing back guys like Jesse Kriel, Handre Pollard and Trevor Nyakane, just to mention guys who have played for the Bulls previously. There are other guys we would love to get back as well.

“If we could get that calibre of player back to our franchises, it would be so beneficial for our younger players – to play with some of the best Springbok players.”

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