Bryan HabanaMorné SteynJuandre KrugerJano VermaakGurthro SteenkampChiliboy RalepelleThe Springboks’ decision to continue with their overseas-based players had its first impact as the team arrived back in South Africa on Monday with no fewer than six members of the 26-man squad having to fly back to France to represent their clubs this weekend.


With 10 members of the Bok squad now based overseas, the French clubs have upped the ante and requested to have their players back for this weekend’s third round of the Top 14, as the Boks will be in transit on their way to Australia.

The problem is that the departures will hamper the Springboks’ preparations, although it seems that the South African Rugby Union has been very accommodating to the clubs and has decided to let them go.

Winger Bryan Habana has headed back to Toulon, flyhalf Morne Steyn to Stade Francais, lock Juandre Kruger to Racing Metro, while scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, prop Gurthro Steenkamp and hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle have all headed to Toulouse to play there this weekend.

All six players are set to make their Top 14 debut for their clubs, but it means they will not be with the Boks when they re-assemble in Johannesburg on Thursday, and will miss two days of training, arriving only on Monday in Brisbane and re-joining the team there.

Already the use of the overseas-based Boks is a contentious issue for Saru, but there is no doubt that coach Heyneke Meyer wants his strongest available squad for the test matches and there will be teething problems in the process.

Five of the players are set to start, while in the case of Steyn, it seems he will be on the bench for Stade Francais this weekend. The flyhalf kicked 16 points to give the Boks a narrow victory in Mendoza over Argentina and is a key man in the Boks’ game-plan going forward, while Habana and Kruger also played on the weekend.

Steenkamp was on the bench with Vermaak, while Ralepelle was in the touring group. Vermaak does have a decent chance to start against Australia in Brisbane after the poor performance of Ruan Pienaar in Mendoza though.

Still, the Boks will need to decide how they want to use the six when they return. It is likely that the coaching staff already have a match 23 in their minds for Brisbane and it is unlikely that Habana, Kruger, Steyn or Vermaak are not part of it.

But how they will be affected by travelling halfway across the world through three continents and still playing a competitive game inbetween, is anyone’s guess.

19 Responses to The Rugby Championship: Springboks – SIX Springboks back to France for a week

  • 1

    HAHAHAHAHA. Ons kan nie sê dat ons nie daarvan geweet het nie. Maar dis maar nou hoe dinge is, ek dink dit gaan ons ouens uitput met al die travel. En dis ook die rede hoekom die All-Blacks altyd nommer 1 in die wêreld gaan bly, want sodra jy waai oorsee speel jy nie meer vir NZ nie. Ons gaan dit sterk moet oorweeg om ook so iets in te bring. Want op die ou einde gaan ons al ons speler oorsee gaan moet kies.
    En hulle gaan drasties ‘n plan moet maak om wedstryde te verminder veral tydens die Super reeks. Want dit is hoekom ek reken baie ouens waai is vir meer geld en minder game time. So hulle het nie so baie seer nie en is ook nie so moeg nie.
    Ek en GBS het nou die dag daaroor gepraat, as hulle nie wedstryde wil verminder nie, gaan hulle regtig moet oorweeg dat spanne ‘n quota gegee word in die Super Rugby. Soos bv. ‘n spelers mag net 3 wedstryde per maand speel, en as jy ‘n bye het, mag hy net 2 speel. Of ‘n speler mag net 160 min per maand speel bv. So bring jy ook jonger spelers in en skep baie meer diepte vir die bokke. En so bly spelers ook meer vars. op hierdie staduim speel ons ouens van FEB tot einde NOV amper elke naweek.
    En dan is traveling ook ‘n groot probleem, sienddat in Europa enige traveling time tussen lande ‘n paar ure neem. Maar in die Super reeks as ons oorsee gaan speel is die niks minder as ‘n dag se traveling nie.
    Hierdie raak amper belaglik.

  • 2


    SARU het nie ‘n clue wat hulle doen nie!

  • 3

    This is exactly what we all feared would happen. The very reason I am so against us selecting ANY overseas based players. For the future we surely should only select home based players. This could cost our team the RC. No Wallabie or All Black players will have travelled before our game. Well Oz went to NZ that is just a very short flight and does nothing to your fatigue. We had to travel to Mendoza and back that alone was enough travel before another 14 hour flight to Sydney then another short flight to Brisane or a hour and quarter. Now the overseas based players will have to make a monster travel before the get to Brisbane. The travel will tire out our players. The flight from France is even longer to Oz than from here in SA. This was madness to let them go play for their overseas clubs before the two big games that we need to win.

    We have to stick to our guns and NOT select any players ever again from overseas if this happens. UNLESS they get a proper deal from their clubs that once they are with the Boks they stay with the Boks for the duration of the RC or June tests. Most of all in rest weeks when we need that week to recover. Eish man, this is a huge mistake we now on the back foot for sure.

  • 4

    So our overseas based players will have had no rest week and a much longer travel. That what it boils down too. Especially no rest is bloody madness.

    The only players I am concerned about are: Morne and Habs. We can do without the rest as they never offered much. We needed a well rested Habs as he looked tired to me and we need Morne for the duration of this tournament to be injury free and most of all when we get a rest he needs to be rested in our rest week. So angry that saru has allowed this. Oz and ABs have one of us already with rested players.

  • 5

    4 @ Puma:
    meant – Oz and ABs have one OVER us already with the rested players.

  • 6

    Correction on my post 4. Only players we need from the above are: Morne, Habs and Vermaak. The rest can stay in France. Kruger should give his plane ticket to Bakkies and let him fly to Oz. Kruger should be left behind and Bakkies should take his place. Move Eben to 5 he has taken the calls a few times for Stormers this year.

    Vermaak should have been given 30 minutes against Arg. Why is Meyer so damn stubborn? Last year he left Lambie to rot on the bench for the duration of the RC while Morne was out of form. Now we have Ruan that is totally not up to it and we had better scrumhalf on the bench in Vermaak and he gets no game time at all while Ruan is messing it up for us? The mind boggles really with Meyer sometimes. Come on Meyer we will need Vermaak to come on against the Aussie and not for 10min, would need him for the whole of the 2nd half. Ruan will start so we just have to accept that. Meyer will not change at this stage with Ruan.

  • 7

    Morning Piet,

    See you logged on up there boet. How you doing? Hope well.

  • 8

    @ Puma:
    Hello Puma.
    I am ad idem with your posts above.
    We should start phasing out overseas players for their on good. You know what flying across the globe takes out of you, it really wears you down. These boys are not going to make it, jet setting after euros and yen continually, something’s got to give. And that something will be Bok rugby.
    Heyneke must let Pienaar, Kruger and Habana go, we have good enough players waiting in the wings to replace them

  • 9

    @ Puma:
    @& Doing ok bruvva, thx, only 2.5 months more and I’m back in the Cape.
    But I really hope Heyneke responds to the Mendoza wake-up call, we need some speed in the loose forwards for the Oz game breakdowns. Marcel Coetsee, Deysel, Minnie and Kolisi has to be considered for this one, “horses for courses”, as they say.

  • 10

    @ Pietman:
    Add “or Lappies Labuschagne has to be considered”.

  • 11

    Oh, and move lambie to fullback with Le Roux on the wing ipo Basson.

  • 12

    8 @ Pietman:
    Agree Piet,

    We are going to have to only select local based players. This flying around the world with no rest to play for Boks is NEVER going to work. We simply will never be able to give our best every if we do that.

  • 13

    8 @ Pietman:
    Agree Piet,

    We are going to have to only select local based players. This flying around the world with no rest to play for Boks is NEVER going to work. We simply will never be able to give our best ever if we do that.

  • 14

    Okay correct a mistake and it comes up twice….hahahaha.

  • 15

    11 @ Pietman:
    Agree there Piet. That way with Pat we have two kickers on the field as well. We cover ourself there. Also think Patty is better under the high ball and his calmness and good defence will be asset. We don’t want to lose Willie from the starting line up so Willie to wing then. We get the best out of both world so to speak there. Also we Pat will also sometime like Willie done go to first receiver. He and Morne changed it up plenty during the wc 2011 like that.

    I doubt Meyer will change any from the starting line up though. Just have to wait and see.

  • 16

    9 @ Pietman:
    For sure Piet. Think if we had Deysel instead of Alberts for Oz would be better as you know he is very good at the breakdowns and offers for me more at 7 than Alberts does. He can carry the ball as well as Alberts. We lose nothing with Deysel only brings more because of him being able to help Flo by protecting our ball at the breakdowns.

    Kolisi off the bench as I really enjoy the speed he brings to the loose trio later against tired legs. Think last week we could have done with Marcel’s defence. Though not sure if Meyer will have in on the bench it will be Kolisi and I am fine with that as Kolisi is a class player. Would have been great to have had Minnie there or Brussow on the bench coming in later. Doubt Meyer will select any of the players we mentioned. Meyer does not like change and we will see the same players start. Have no doubt.

    I would definitely bring back Bakkies. He would still be fresh even if he had played all season. He has not done all the travel that the other player have done here this year. Also we know very well that Bakkies fears nothing and will get stuck in. Kruger and stay in France.

  • 17

    SARU must take control of the Springbok players. This is ridiculous. SARU must wake up. They are destroying SA rugby.

  • 18

    @17 – I agree, this is becoming a wild fire. Easy fix. Do the same as the All Blacks. Take our big 6 teams, Bulls, Lions, Cheetahs, Kings, Stormers & Sharks and give all those players bok contracts. And then this way if you leave SA you lose your contract. And if these sides reqruit new players from the smaller clubs/unions they have to be at the club for 6 months before becoming eligible for a bok contract.

  • 19

    @ Timothy Bornman:
    yes, and SA must start to give competitive contracts to the players. They must find a way compete against the euro and yen. A lot of companies in other sectors do it successfully, just SARU got excuses.


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