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Jake White calls for Bok ban on overseas players

Coach believes this will ‘save SA franchises’

Athenkosi Tsotsi Sports Reporter
Bulls director Jake White.
Bulls director Jake White.
Image: Ramsey Cardy

Bulls director of rugby Jake White has insisted that there needs to be a clause prohibiting overseas-based players from playing for the Springboks. This is his solution to ensuring that the South African franchises are competitive in European competitions. 

Earlier in the season, White mentioned that it would be difficult for the South African teams to compete in the United Rugby Championship and European competitions plus the Currie Cup because they didn’t have the quality in squad depth and big budgets like their counterparts in Europe. 

The Bulls exited the Champions Cup in the last 16 at the hands of Toulouse, the Sharks also lost to the same team in the quarterfinals, while the Stormers were booted out in the same stage by Exeter Chiefs. Confirming the point he made that the South African side would fall short when European teams were in full strength.

The number of South African players playing overseas is said to be about 300, some of those names include Springboks Malcolm Marx, Trevor Nyakane, Jasper Wiese,  Handré Pollard, Faf de Klerk, Duane Vermeulen, and Pieter-Stef du Toit, among many. 

White, who won the 2007 Rugby World Cup with the Springboks, believes a regulation stating that if a player wants to play for the Boks they must turn out for the local franchises will help in making the South African teams competitive. 

“We can only do that if we keep all the best players in SA. The way we do that is we make sure any player that plays abroad is not eligible to play for SA,” White said when speaking to the media.  

“If we want to save the domestic game, save the franchises in SA, and compete at that level, you have to have the best players here.

“There’s no other way you can do it, people debate with me about money and all of that, it can’t be about money, it has got to be about the desire to be a Springbok and play international rugby.  

“We are not going to keep everybody, but if you get 50% of those guys back and put them in the franchises, all of a sudden the franchises get better, the Currie Cup teams get better, and it filters down,” he said. 

White will be busy this weekend as his Currie Cup side will take on the Sharks at Kings Park (3.30pm) today, and then tomorrow the URC team plays Zebre at Ellis Park (1pm).

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