Will Coetzee cast a wide net or stay with locals?


The last point is a bit of a head-scratcher because some say the national rugby coach should pick the best players, no matter where they’re based, while others believe the Bok boss should stick with those players who ply their trade in South Africa.

Former Bok coach and current Montpellier boss Jake White said in an interview on vodacomrugby.co.za last week that he didn’t think foreign-based players should be selected for the Boks.

He basically said South Africans based abroad shouldn’t be allowed the luxury of earning millions at foreign clubs, thousands of miles away, to just return to their home country and play Test rugby.

He added that some sort of sacrifice had to be made if players wanted to go overseas – and giving up the chance to play for the Boks was it.

“We need to encourage the guys to stay in South Africa,” he said.White said Leicester City’s triumph in the English Premiership proved what can be achieved if the players experience hardships together and deal with off-the-field matters together and in the right way.He’s got a good point.

Sure, many players head overseas to experience something different, to face new challenges, but let’s not beat about the bush, they also head abroad because the money’s too good to turn down.

This doesn’t make them unpatriotic; it’s their choice and their right to do so.But, with more and more players being lured to foreign clubs perhaps the only way SA Rugby can prevent South Africa from losing its best men and give the Boks the best chance to become, and stay, No 1 in the world, is to ban overseas based players from being picked.

A rule to this effect would allow the national coach to pick and work with whoever he wants, when he wants, without interference from any clubs, it will allow him to see his preferred players in action whenever he wants and it will give the promising players who turn out for their franchises week-in and week-out hope and belief they can get a look-in.

There will also be unity and a common cause in the team, something that might be lacking should players from the “outside” be picked.These are all factors Coetzee has to consider when he finalises his first squad in the coming days.

And, let’s be honest, as good as the likes of the Du Plessis brothers, Jannie and Bismarck, Francois Steyn, Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar, Pierre Spies, Duane Vermeulen and Francois Louw have been for the Boks over the years, will they be around for the next World Cup?

And, shouldn’t Coetzee be building towards that?In spite of hundreds of South Africans playing abroad, there are still some seriously talented men who’re based here who Coetzee can pick from.

The Star

Original source: Will Coetzee cast a wide net or stay with locals?