Springbok News: Erasmus will be allowed to break 30-Test rule for overseas players

Rassie Erasmus is getting a slightly easier ride than Allister Coetzee and will be allowed to pick players for the Springboks who are based overseas and do not meet the 30-Test rule.

Must be nice to be Rassie Erasmus. While strict rules were in place for his predecessor when it came to picking overseas players, Erasmus will be allowed to do so.

According to a report in this weekend’s City Press, he has been given approval to “pick any player who might qualify for the Bok team, provided he gives valid reasons for that player’s selection”.

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While the 30-Test rule still applies, SA Rugby will even make exceptions for that “under certain circumstances”.

The rule was implemented last season to try and stop players leaving the country, but clearly, that didn’t change much.

“Rassie spoke to us about it,” Mark Alexander, the president of SA Rugby, confirmed last week.

“The rule remains, but we will consider every request by Rassie on its merits. The Boks are SARU’s flagship and we will do everything we can to give them the necessary support.”

If Erasmus wants to pick any players outside of the rules, he will have to motivate his reasons.

There is no clarity on what these rules actually are, or whether simply saying: “they are the best players available, you idiots” will suffice.

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In an interview in the latest version of SA Rugby’s online magazine, Erasmus said they were working on a plan to manage overseas players.

“I’ve said before that all players who are eligible for the Boks should be considered, but we have to look at our home-based players first – and we have some wonderful talent playing here,” said Erasmus.

“Having said that, I believe some of the more experienced players from overseas clubs can still add value, but they must be utilised correctly.

“In a World Cup year, we can use players with fewer than 30 caps, so we will probably have to test those players at some stage before the tournament in Japan next year. We are working on some plans to manage just that, while we also can’t neglect the players based in South Africa.”

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