SA Rugby Test team Springboks during their national anthem. Photo: Steve Haag Sports/Hollywoodbets.

The Springboks during their national anthem. Photo: Steve Haag Sports/Hollywoodbets.

Jake White makes radical suggestion for Springboks selection

Bulls boss Jake White has implored SA Rugby to make a major change to their selection policy when it comes to the Springboks.

SA Rugby Test team Springboks during their national anthem. Photo: Steve Haag Sports/Hollywoodbets.

The Springboks during their national anthem. Photo: Steve Haag Sports/Hollywoodbets.

On Saturday, both the Stormers and Sharks crashed out of the Heineken Champions Cup after being outplayed by the Exeter Chiefs and Toulouse respectively. To complete a poor weekend for SA sides, the Lions were then knocked out of the EPCR Challenge Cup by the Glasgow Warriors.

South Africa’s four URC rugby franchises will clearly need a new approach and a rethink of their strategy when it comes to European competitions next season, with the travel factor – which included some delays and economy class restrictions – flagged by some as a major factor in the disappointing knockout results.

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Bulls boss Jake White, who also served as the Springbok coach between 2004 and 2007, has now suggested that there has to be a change in SA Rugby’s overseas-based Boks selection policy in order for South Africa’s franchises to be more competitive at Champions Cup level.

“If we want to save the domestic game and we want to save the franchises in South Africa and you want to compete at that level, once you put your name down to play in the Heineken Cup you have to beat La Rochelle away, you have to beat Saracens away or you have to beat Toulouse away – then you have to have the best players here,” he commented, as quoted by RugbyPass.

“I said it to a French journalist last week when I was in Toulouse, we had three teams in the round-of-16 and if you look at the rest of the teams, look at the players out of Leinster, Leicester, Sale, Ulster, there is probably another three teams there of quality players. You have got guys like Jasper Wiese, Duane Vermeulen, Jason Jenkins, I mean the list goes on and on and on and on. That means that we probably could have six teams in the top 16.

“Now once you put those six teams into four teams (in South Africa) then all of a sudden everything changes. Then you have the ability to actually compete against those best teams (like Toulouse). The way it is now you have got 300 professional players playing aboard and some of them are the best players in our country – you just have to look at the make-up of the national team. That just proves that we need those guys back in South Africa. There is no other way you can do it.”

REMINDER: Why the Bulls are playing at Ellis Park on Saturday

The Springboks squad is currently packed with overseas-based players

Previously, SA director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has insisted that picking overseas-based players is the only viable policy when it comes to maintaining the financial wellbeing of the organisation.

Erasmus has repeatedly stated that it makes fiscal sense to allow powerful overseas clubs – especially considering the current exchange rate – to foot the bill for leading Springboks, who can at least remain available to the national side at a time when local franchises basically cannot compete with the offers they receive from abroad.

ALSO READ: Where the SA teams stand in URC playoff race


Friday, 14 April
18h30: Sharks vs Benetton (Durban)
20h35: Glasgow Warriors vs Scarlets (Glasgow)
20h35: Ulster vs Dragons (Belfast)

Saturday, 15 April
13h00: Bulls vs Zebre Parma (Johannesburg)
16h00: Lions vs Leinster (Johannesburg)
18h15: Stormers vs Munster (Cape Town)
20h35: Cardiff Rugby vs Connacht (Cardiff)
20h35: Edinburgh vs Ospreys (Edinburgh)

ALSO READ: Will the Springboks’ first-choice 23 look like this?

Bulls in preparation for clash against Lions
Jake White talks to the Bulls players. Photo: Twitter.