Overseas 'Boks under threat
New ruling threatens foreign-based SA stars
By Phil Jackson. Last Updated: 03/08/07 1:37pm
Smit: Soon to be ineligble for selection
South African rugby union chiefs have taken the controversial decision to stop their overseas-based players from coming into contention for national team selection.
"We want to reward the guys who stay in South Africa and further encourage them to remain here"
Saru president Oregan Hoskins told Johannesburg's Star newspaper. Quotes of the week
The South African Rugby Union's (Saru) president's council opted to bring in the ruling on Thursday in a bid to prevent home-grown stars plying their trade abroad.
Captain John Smit, lock forward Victor Matfield, hooker Gary Botha and winger Ashwin Willemse are amongst nearly 100 South African-born players currently in action in France, Wales, England and Italy.
September's World Cup could now prove the last chance for many of them to perform in the international arena, but Saru president Oregan Hoskins remains resolute.
"It's a really tricky situation, but we had to draw the line somewhere," Hoskins told Johannesburg's Star newspaper.
"If we allow guys to keep on leaving we're robbing the public of seeing the best players in action.
"We're now simply reverting back to what the rule was and that means if a guy doesn't play locally he won't be allowed to play for South Africa."
It is no surprise that the Springboks will wait until after the World Cup before instituting the rule, with coach Jake White picking overseas-based stars Percy Montgomery and Jaco van der Westhuyzen in recent times.
South Africa have been drawn in Pool A at the tournament, alongside England, Samoa, USA and Tonga, and kick off their campaign against Semo Sititi's side on September 9.