The Bulls worried by massive player exodus after World Cup
Several high-profile players are expected to leave SA after the Rugby World Cup later this year and Blue Bulls Company chief executive Alfons Meyer admitted that they are worried.
Springboks Handré Pollard‚ Lood de Jager‚ Jesse Kriel and Jason Jenkins recently announced that they are not returning to Loftus after the World Cup and intend to continue their careers in Europe and Japan.
The quartet are key members of Bulls coach Pote Human’s plans in Super Rugby this season and the Pretoria club are in a tailspin.
“Of course we are worried.
"We have tried our best to retain all the Springboks players who are leaving in the form of Lood de Jager‚ Handré‚ Jesse Kriel and Jason Jenkins‚” said Meyer.
De Jager will join Sale Sharks in England‚ Pollard has agreed terms with French club Montpellier‚ Kriel will play for the Canon Eagles in Japan while Jenkins is also expected to go to Japan.
The Bulls‚ who have been able to attract top Springboks players to Pretoria over the years‚ are also in danger losing more Bok talent in the form of RG Snayman and Trevor Nyakane.
But Meyer said negotiations are continuing.
“We are currently in talks about an offer to retain RG Snyman.
"We are also in the process of signing Trevor Nyakane for a further two years‚” he said.
The good news is that they have re-signed flyhalf Morne’ Steyn‚ Lizo Gqoboka‚ Ivan van Zyl‚ Marco van Staden for two years and Simpiwe Matanzima and Wiehan Herbst for three.
Other key members of the current Super Rugby team like Warrick Gelant‚ Embrose Papier‚ Cornal Hendricks‚ Rosco Speckman‚ Burger Odendaal‚ Manie Libbok‚ Dylan Sage are tied up until 2020.
Other South African franchises are facing a similar problem and risk losing their stars to overseas sides.
Meyer said players are making financial considerations about their futures.
“It’s financial considerations because they can earn more than double in most cases if converted to rand.
"From a Bulls perspective‚ I would not say we are hopeless but the situation is challenging‚” he said‚ adding that he hopes there will be no more departures.
Meyer said bringing back Steyn and re-signing some of the top talent from within their ranks is a clear sign to the fans that they want to rebuild the team for next season.
“We need to bring in experience and that is why the signings of Morne’ Steyn and Wiehan Herbst were critical‚" he said.
"We will need to bring more experience‚ especially at lock.
"We have some exciting youngsters coming through and we think they will be ready for Currie Cup and Super Rugby next year.
"We are negotiating with other players to come to Loftus‚ some negotiations are at an early stage and others are advanced.”