Springbok No 8 and South Africa’s Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, Duane Vermeulen, is in a race against time to be fit for the Rugby World Cup following a diagnosis that he will require surgery on a neck injury.
The 29-year-old Vermeulen, who was also the SARPA Players’ Player of the Year and the Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, consulted a specialist in Durban on the recommendation of the Springbok medical team.
The need for surgery was identified to give him the best possible chance to recover in time for the global rugby showpiece in England in September and October. The operation is scheduled for Wednesday.
Samoa have called veteran prop Census Johnston out of retirement to bolster their pack in Wednesday’s historic 1-off Test against the All Blacks in Apia.
“We simply couldn’t leave him out,” coach Stephan Betham said when naming his team on Monday.
The 34-year-old Toulouse prop, who has played 47 Tests for Samoa since 2005, had announced his retirement in April – but has been training with the Samoa squad in recent weeks.
Chiefs fullback Tim Nanai Williams is the only uncapped player in the starting 15.
Outside back Faialaga Afamasaga, the only Samoa-based member of the squad, is set to make his debut off the bench.
New Zealand-born Nanai Williams, a cousin of All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams, has previously represented New Zealand as a Sevens player, but switched allegiance to his parents’ home country last year to boost his World Cup and Olympic prospects.
All but 5 members of the 23-man Samoa squad are based in Europe – including captain and back row forward Ofisa Treviranus, who plays for London Irish.
The match will be the 1st appearance in Samoa by the All Blacks, who have won all 5 previous Tests between the 2 countries played in New Zealand.
Chiefs utility back Andrew Horrell has been called up to the World XV squad for their match against the Springboks in Cape Town next Saturday.
Horrell, a 2-time Vodacom Super Rugby champion with the Waikato-based team, replaces Crusaders flyhalf Tom Taylor, who has been called into the New Zealand training squad for their Test against Samoa.
He is the 6th New Zealander to be included in the World XV squad, which also includes Springbok legend Bakkies Botha, All Blacks tight forwards Carl Hayman and Ali Williams, and 10 players from 3-time European champions Toulon.
The squad, coached by Robbie Deans and Bernard Laporte, assembles in Cape Town on Monday and they take on South Africa at DHL Newlands on Saturday 11 July at 17:00 SA Time (15:00 GMT).
A niggling hip flexor injury may have kept Springbok centre Jan Serfontein sidelined for parts of the Super Rugby season, but he is hopeful to soon stake a claim for a place in this year’s Rugby World Cup squad.
“Injuries have been a bit of a setback for me this year, but I’m on my way back. Maybe the fitness is a bit down, but it’s something you can work on, on your own,” Serfontein said at the Springbok camp in Johannesburg this week.
“I’m just hoping to get some game time for the World XV and in The Rugby Championship coming up.
The Golden Lions Rugby Union have announced the signing for the 2016 season of 2 of their Emirates Lions franchise partners, the Steval Pumas’ players, Faf de Klerk and Corné Fourie.
The Media Release reads as follows:
Lions Rugby (Pty) Ltd is pleased to announce the contracting of Pumas duo Faf de Klerk and Corné Fourie for the 2016 season.
Both De Klerk and Fourie, who have played Vodacom Super Rugby for the Emirates Lions through loan agreements over the past 2 seasons, will return to Johannesburg under permanent contracts in November 2015.
The pair has signed 1-year contracts with Lions Rugby and will thus be involved in both the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby and ABSA Currie Cup campaigns.
The Cell C Sharks have announced the signing of Reds lock, David McDuling, ahead of the ABSA Currie Cup season.
The Sharks press release reads as follows:
We are pleased to announce the signing of Reds lock, David McDuling, who will join the Cell C Sharks until the end of 2016.
Known for his never-give-up attitude and athleticism around the park, McDuling made his Super Rugby debut in 2014 against the Crusaders and has since amassed a total of 12 Super Rugby caps for the Reds. He also won the inaugural season of the National Rugby Championship with Brisbane City and had the most carries and run metres of any 2nd rower in the competition.
Two injured players in the Springbok training squad, Frans Steyn and Pieter-Steph du Toit, have been temporarily released from the squad to continue their rehabilitation in Durban for the next few weeks.
Neither of them are expected to be fit for the Springboks’ 1st 2 matches of the season, next Saturday against the World XV in Cape Town and a week later against Australia in Brisbane. Steyn has a pectoral muscle tear, while Du Toit is recovering from a knee injury.
According to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer the decision to send Steyn and Du Toit home was taken with the best interests of the players in mind.
“We’ve discussed the way forward with the players, and all of us agreed that the best way forward at this stage is for them to get full-time rehabilitation at their home province, while our own medical team will keep very close tabs on their progress,” said Meyer.
“Both of them are still firmly in our plans going forward for the season and I really hope they can get back onto the field sooner rather than later. I’m confident the individual attention they will receive in Durban will be a massive benefit to them in the long run.
“We won’t be taking Frans or Pieter-Steph with us to Australia and will reassess their situation when we return from Brisbane.”
James O’Connor and Karmichael Hunt were among the big losers when Australian coach Michael Cheika named an extended 40-man squad.
The Wallaby squad will be reduced closer to the Rugby Championship opener against South Africa on 18 July.
Apart from the absence of O’Connor and Hunt, Nick Cummins, along with veteran props Benn Robinson and Ben Alexander also paid the price for poor form.
The big winners were the Toulon-based duo of Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell.
Mitchell and Giteau have been included in the squad under the new foreign policy rule, while Waratahs and Exeter lock Dean Mumm returns to the Wallabies for the first time since 2012.
Four uncapped players made the squad – Samu Kerevi, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Rory Arnold and Toby Smith.
New Zealand All Blacks coach Steve Hansen brought in some reinforcements as his team gears up for a brutal Test against Samoa in Apia next week Wednesday.
With a number of key All Blacks involved in the Super Rugby Final between the Hurricanes and Highlanders, Hansen wanted to add some depth to the squad training in Auckland this week.
17 Members of Hansen’s 41-player squad were ruled out because of their involvement in Saturday’s Super Rugby decider.
3 More players – uncapped Chiefs midfield backs Charlie Ngatai and Seta Tamanivalu, as well as Crusaders utility Tom Taylor – have been brought into the New Zealand camp in Auckland.
With injury issues surrounding some others, Hansen initially announced 2 stand-by players – scrumhalf Andy Ellis and uncapped prop Nepo Laulala.
He had already boosted numbers last week when 3 uncapped players joined a training camp in Auckland – midfield back George Moala, scrumhalf Brad Weber and prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi.
Ex-Springbok flyhalf Peter Grant is set to join the Western Force ahead of next year’s Super Rugby season.
Grant, who was released with a season to run on his contract at French club La Rochelle, looks a likely replacement for South African compatriot Sias Ebersohn, who has already been released.
According to The West Australian, Grant’s potential return to Super Rugby was opened due Wilhelm Steenkamp’s imminent signing for French club Brive for next season.
Steenkamp had limited game time last season and failed to impress the Force’s coaching staff at his time with the team.
The Force are allowed 3 overseas Test players and Grant would join former All Black scrumhalf Alby Mathewson and Tongan forward Steve Mafi.
Stade Français have confirmed the signing of Springbok back row Willem Alberts who will join the club after the Rugby World Cup.
The Top 14 champions have not brought in many players this off-season, generally prioritising quality over quantity, as Alberts joins Will Genia in the French capital.
Alberts arrives from the Cell C Sharks on a 3-year deal and will join a back row which already features Sergio Parisse, Raphaël Lakafia and Antoine Burban, while promising youngster Sekou Macalou also arrived over the off-season from Massy.
The 31-year-old made his Springbok debut back in 2010 and has scored 7 tries in 32 tests.
The Emirates Lions have lost another key player ahead of their Currie Cup campaign.
Hooker Armand “Akker”van der Merwe or “The Angry Warthog” as he is sometimes referred to, has signed a deal with Racing Metro, which will see him play in France for the remainder of the 2015 season.
Lions Rugby (Pty) Ltd revealed that they agreed to release 4 players to clubs abroad for the duration of the Currie Cup tournament.
As was previously reported Elton Jantjies (Shining Arcs), Lionel Mapoe (Spears) and Warwick Tecklenburg (Kamaishi) have all signed agreements in Japan until February 2016.
Along with Van der Merwe, all the players will return ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby tournament and will represent the Lions in next year’s competition. The players have all committed to Lions Rugby until the end of 2016.
Lionel Mapoe, Renaldo Bothma, Bjorn Basson and Warwick Tecklenburg have added their names to growing list of Super Rugby players heading to The Land of the Rising Sun.
Emirates Lions centre, Mapoe will join Vodacom Bulls lock Grant Hattingh at the Spears while his Lions team mate, flank Warwick Tecklenburg heads to the Kamaishi Seawaves.
Cell C Sharks and Namibia International loose forward, Renaldo Bothma will join Verblitz after the World Cup while Vodacom Bulls and Ex-Springbok wing Bjorn Basson will join Lomano Lemeki and Digby Ioane at the Heat.
Another high profile player who will be heading East is Wallaby fullback Israel Folau who will link up with Springboks Handré Pollard and Eben Etzebeth at the Docomo Red Hurricanes. Folau just put pen to paper on a new flexible contract with the Australian Rugby Union.
Tighthead prop Vincent Koch has confirmed that he will return to the DHL Stormers for next year’s Super Rugby competition.
Koch, 25, was loaned from the Pumas for this year’s Super Rugby competition and was one of the Cape franchise’s standout performers.
His performances also earned him a call-up to Heyneke Meyer’s Springbok squad named at the weekend.
There was confusion regarding Koch’s availability for the Stormers because his province – the Steval Pumas – form part of the Emirates Lions franchise and the men from Johannesburg could have requested the player to feature for them.
Outgoing DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has given the franchise advice on where they can look to strengthen their squad for next season.
The 52-year-old is set to leave for Japan as he embarks on a new phase in his coaching career with Japanese club, Kobe Kobelco Steelers.
The Stormers won this year’s South African conference in Super Rugby, but were knocked out in the qualifiers against the Brumbies at Newlands.
Coetzee said they need add a few new recruits in order to be successful in 2016.
Waratahs Rugby and the Australian Rugby Union have confirmed the re-signing of fullback Israel Folau on a 3-year flexible contract which will keep him in Australian rugby until at least 2018.
The 26 year-old joined the Waratahs for the 2013 season, making an immediate impact to the side with his impressive speed and agility.
In just his 2nd year in the code, he was named 2014 Australian Super Rugby Player of the Year after an outstanding season in which he scored 12 tries in 14 matches and was an integral member of the title-winning team.
A key member of the team’s leadership group, Folau was named as vice-captain for the 1st time in 2015, and held the role for 5 matches.
2016 Waratahs head coach Daryl Gibson said he was pleased that Folau had committed to stay in Australian rugby.
Positive news for a change from the Vodacom Blue Bulls, as Nollis Marais, the new Head Coach for the Currie Cup season gets into gear.
He promises change and that the Blue Bulls will play in a system which suits their player strenghts and it looks like one of the 1st key things he has achieved is to convince all the key youngsters left at the Union since the recent exodus (before his appointment), have decided to stay and sign on to help ressurrect the proud Union.
The 2nd immediate positive is that former Bulls and Springbok hooker, Gary Botha has been signed as Technical Forwards Consultant with the Blue Bulls.
The 3rd aspect of positive and upbuilding news is that the vibe in the newly released Currie Cup squad is positive and excited… and eager.
The 4th aspect, something I have wanted to hear for a very, very long time… and that is that Nollis Marais will give special attention to skills training. It has been something severely lacking in both the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup and the Bulls in Super Rugby and it’s been permitted to rot in the background for far too long during Frans Ludeke’s tenure, and lately shaky reign. It is music to my ears and should be music to the ears of most South Africans, as skills is one critical aspect where we feel South Africa is lacking behind Australia and New Zealand… well specially New Zealand!
Then there is the pleasant news that it appears that Francois Hougaard, who would have left for Japan prior to the advent of the Currie Cup, will now stay at the Blue Bulls, in an attempt to shine in the Currie Cup, and thus maybe elevate his chances of re-entering the Springbok Squad.
With the International Test window just around the corner (11 July), the Rugby news in South Africa is being dominated by Springbok preparations for what lies ahead in 2015… The World XV game, the abbreviated Rugby Championship and 1 further match against Los Pumas and of course the Rugby World Cup from 18 September to 31 October 2015.
Of course, it could also be argued that we do not have anything else to talk about, because South African sides have all been done and dusted with Super Rugby for a couple of weeks already, whilst 2 New Zealand sides are still contesting it… on their ownsome lonesome!
Maybe it is a blessing in disguise though, for overall Springbok preparations, as they now have much more time to get their ducks in a row for the international scene, and to re-introduce the injured and rehabilitating players…
BUT, and it’s a big BUT… the injury list seems almost as long as the list of fighting fit candidates and that is a big concern.
In this article, we focus on what Heyneke Meyer says and feels about his chosen Springbok squad, and we have a good look at the fitness and injury update from the Springbok camp.
A SANZAR Appeals Committee, chaired by Nigel Hampton QC (New Zealand) and comprising Lex Mpati (South Africa) and Terry Willis (Australia) unanimously dismissed an appeal brought by the Brumbies against the decision that found Henry Speight had contravened Law 10.4 (j) – Lifting Tackle.
The Committee dismissed the appeal on the basis that the appellant was unable to show that the Judicial Officer’s central factual findings, that the tackle involved both a lifting and driving, were in error.
The Committee also unanimously dismissed the appeal brought against the 5-week (4-match) suspension imposed on Speight, finding that the Judicial Officer had not erred in principle and that the sanction imposed was not manifestly excessive.
As such, the player remains suspended from all forms of the game for 5 weeks up to and including Saturday 25 July 2015.
Chiefs centre Charlie Ngatai will captain an exciting mix of experienced hands and promising young talent when the Maori All Blacks play Fiji and the New Zealand Barbarians.
Coach Colin Cooper has retained 13 players who took part in last year’s tour to Japan, drafted in 3 members of the World Champion New Zealand Under 20 team and boasts 10 new caps ahead of their matches in July.
“This is a well-balanced side with some very experienced campaigners who have now played on several tours and know our systems well. I’ll be expecting them to lead by example and show the new boys the high standards we expect.
“We have a proud record of success to uphold and I am sure this side will work hard to honour the great legacy of the Maori All Blacks,” Cooper said.
Akira Ioane, who had a stellar Super Rugby season for the Blues and went on to help the Under 20 side win the World Title in Italy, is joined by fellow Under 20 stars flyhalf Otere Black and utility back Sean Wainui while Sevens star Rieko Ioane has also been added to the squad.
Thomas Lavanini has committed to the new Argentinean Super Rugby team until at least the end of 2018.
The 22-year-old lock started his professional career at Hindú in the Argentinean capital before moving to Racing Metro at the beginning of this season.
He is capped 18 times for the Pumas and is currently in Sydney as the squad prepares for the forthcoming Rugby Championship.
“I am very happy with agreeing to terms,” he said.
Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez will be sidelined for an extended period with a medial knee ligament injury.
When Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer unveiled a 49-strong squad on Saturday, a paragraph in the official media release revealed that “He suffered a knee injury while training with his Japanese club earlier this week”.
More clarity regarding Du Preez’s injury was given in Johannesburg on Monday, where it was determined that the 33-year-old former Loftus-based favourite, now contracted to Suntory Goliath in Japan, will be sidelined for between 4 to 8 weeks.
The other scrumhalves picked in the Springbok squad are Ruan Pienaar, Cobus Reinach, Faf de Klerk and Rudy Paige.
Another serious injury concern is prop Coenie Oosthuizen who had a neck operation today and will miss the Castle Rugby Championship.
This week’s Super Rugby news is of course dominated by the only 2 sides left in the 2015 competition, who will meet in the Final on Saturday, namely the Highlanders and Hurricanes.
In this article we focus on various aspects in the final week for the Hurricanes. We look at how they will approach the final, Conrad Smith discusses his 12-year Hurricanes career and we look at the Hurricane sinjury situation ahead of Saturday’s final.
Game Approch – Keep attacking:
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd says that his team will not change their attacking approach when they host their first Super Rugby Final.
The Wellington side will host the Highlanders on the weekend which means that Super Rugby will have a 1st-time titleholder, and for the 5th time it will be an all-New Zealand affair.
The table-topping Hurricanes sealed their home final with a 29 / 9 victory over the Brumbies, while the Highlanders travelled to Sydney and beat the defending champion Waratahs to secure their spot.
The Western Force has released flyhalf Sias Ebersohn from his contract, allowing him to return to his native South Africa.
The 26-year-old, who joined the Force from the Bloemfontein-based Toyota Cheetahs ahead of the 2013 Super Rugby season, has played 43 matches – scoring 212 points – across his 3 seasons for the Western Australian club.
Ebersohn has made a strong contribution to the club over the past 3 seasons, including playing a key role during the club’s most successful season in 2014.
However, leading into the 2016 season, the club identified the need to inject additional experience into its young backline, which coincided with an opportunity for Ebersohn to return to South Africa.
The selection of 8 uncapped players and the return of a further 6 are the features of the Springbok squad named on Saturday for the 5 matches leading up to the Rugby World Cup later this season.
In addition to the 36 squad members, the national selectors have identified 13 players who are currently injured or will be in rehabilitation, but will form part of an extended squad for the matches against the World XV, Castle Lager Rugby Championship and the Test against Argentina in Buenos Aires.
The uncapped players in the squad are Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Rudy Paige, Faf de Klerk, Jesse Kriel, Franco Mostert and Lionel Mapoe.
Back in the Springbok fold after not featuring in any Springbok Tests last year, are Elton Jantjies, Frans Steyn, Jaque Fourie, Heinrich Brüssow, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Heinke van der Merwe.
The currently injured players included in the squad are Springbok captain Jean de Villiers, Lionel Mapoe, Heinrich Brüssow, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Frans Steyn, Coenie Oosthuizen, Lood de Jager, Duane Vermeulen, Cobus Reinach, Pat Lambie, Jaque Fourie, Jan Serfontein and Fourie du Preez. The latter suffered a knee injury while training with his Japanese club earlier this week.
“It’s a long list of injured players but all of them are in the selection frame and we’d like to work with them to assist with their rehabilitation,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
The Southern Kings continued their recruitment drive ahead of their re-entry into Super Rugby next year.
Veteran prop Schalk Ferreira, who played Super Rugby for the Kings in 2013, is the latest recruit for the Port Elizabeth-based franchise.
He will be returning to PE on a 2-year contract and will join them ahead of the Eastern Province Kings’ Currie Cup campaign that gets underway in August.
The 31-year-old Ferreira – who also played for the DHL Stormers before moving to PE – has been playing for Toulouse in France since 2013.
The have recently also confirmed the signing of centre JP du Plessis and prop Basil Short.
This also follows the announcement of a loan agreement with the Blue Bulls for the services of Jacques “Vleis” Engelbrecht to join the squad for the Currie Cup season, as well as the signing until 2016 of young prop Nicolaas van Dyk.
Du Plessis and Short are already taking part in a training.
Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade gave the 1st indication of what his Rugby World Cup line-up will look like, when he named his squad for The Rugby Championship.
He wasted no time in drafting in his overseas-based players who were not part of the just-completed 2-match series against the French Barbarians.
Horacio Agulla (Bath), Marcos Ayerza (Leicester Tigers), Marcelo Bosch (Saracens) and Gonzalo Camacho (Leicester Tigers) joined the squad.
The numbers will be reduced from the current 36 to 28 when they head to Sydney on Saturday 11 July, where they will prepare for their opening Rugby Championship encounter – with the New Zealand All Blacks in Christchurch on 17 July.
Hourcade said it has been a long process to select the squad.
Chris Wyles will captain the United States national team as the USA Eagles prepare for the Rugby World Cup – at a 4-match Pacific Nations Cup campaign.
Wyles, who won the Premiership with Saracens and helped the Eagles Sevens team qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in a 2-week span, will assume the captaincy role beginning with the team’s assembly in northern California.
The Eagles will play Samoa in San Jose on 18 July, before taking on Japan in Sacramento on 24 July.
Both opponents are in Pool B with the US at the Rugby World Cup.
“Chris has been one of the most respected and successful Eagles of all time and has been a selfless and proud Eagle for nearly a decade,” coach Mike Tolkin said.
“His success as a professional player with Saracens, matched with the respect that he has garnered with his teammates throughout his career, makes him a natural choice as captain.”
Wyles will succeed Todd Clever, the team’s longest-serving captain in history, after embracing the role post-World Cup 2007.
After seeing out his contract with Shining Arcs in Japan’s Top League earlier this year, Clever returned to his home state of California to play with Old Mission Beach Athletic Club.
Blaine Scully will serve as Vice-captain of the USA Eagles.
The Highlanders have received a boost with the news that flyhalf Lima Sopoaga, who suffered a knee injury at a training camp, is set to take his place in their Super Rugby semi-final against the Waratahs.
“He’s fine. He just twisted his knee, it’s a wee bit of a one off,” coach Jamie Joseph said in Sydney on Friday. “It was a wee bit of a scare for everybody, but he’s fine and he’s going to train today.”
The 24-year-old, who has also been named in an extended All Blacks squad, had initially feared he might have to sit out Saturday’s match against the defending champions.
“I think his body feels fine today and, as Jamie said, it was just a bit of a scare at the time,” added Highlanders co-captain Ben Smith.
The Sharks took delight in announcing the signing of Springbok loosehead prop, Coenie Oosthuizen, on a 4-year deal.
Oosthuizen made his Springbok debut in 2012 and has since amassed 21 caps in the green and gold jersey. He is a versatile prop that is able to play on both sides of the scrum and is a welcome addition to the Cell C Sharks family.
Commenting on his signing, The Sharks Director of Rugby, Gary Gold said: “I am pleased that Coenie has taken up our offer to play his rugby in Durban. He is an exceptional player who boasts surprising pace and is known for his strong runs and work rate around the park.
“His experience will prove invaluable to our team ambitions going forward.”
The Japanese Yen’s pulling power continues to lure Springboks to Japan for brief off-season stints.
Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth is reported to have signed for the Red Hurricanes and is set to join Springbok teammate Handré Pollard for a stint in Japan.
As is the case with Pollard, Etzebeth’s contract with the Japanese club will only be for 3 months and commence after the World Cup.
That would see him return to play for the DHL Stormers in next year’s Super Rugby competition.
Etzebeth’s contract with Western Province expires at the end of the 2016 season.
The 2nd Springbok that will travel to Asia, is Super Rugby sensation Damien de Allende who has, according to japanrugby.net, signed with the Liners.
De Allende will depart for Japan after the World Cup and return in time for the Super Rugby season in 2016.
The Springboks will welcome the news that flyhalf Pat Lambie has been declared fit for action.
The Cell C Sharks pivot visited a specialist on Thursday to determine the extent of the neck injury which sidelined him for the past 3 months.
The Sharks on Thursday announced that the 24-year-old was fit to play.
He is expected to be included in Heyneke Meyer’s Springbok squad on Saturday.
Johan Goosen’s kicking coach has confirmed Western Province’s interest in the Springbok pivot and says the player is ‘considering’ all possible options.
Media reports earlier this month indicated that the Capetonians were interested in signing Goosen as a replacement for Demetri Catrakilis, who will join Montpellier in France after this year’s Currie Cup.
Bertus Pretorius, who is Goosen’s kicking coach in Bloemfontein, confirmed the interest in his player.
Goosen though still has 2 seasons left on his contract with Racing Metro in France and WP would have to fork out a lot of money to sign him.
“Any player will always consider possibilities (to move) and it’s not necessarily only WP. But Goose has a 3-year contract with Racing (should WP fail in their quest to lure him) and he’ll honour it, like he did with the Cheetahs,” Pretorius said.
Goosen though appears not to be a happy camper in France, with Racing coach Laurent Labit recently accusing the Springbok pivot of not attending French classes as well as not taking things serious enough at practice.
A potential move by barnstorming Newport-Gwent Dragons No 8 Taulupe Faletau to English Premiership team Bath would not hinder his international chances, Wales head coach Warren Gatland insisted on Thursday.
The so-called “Gatland’s law” was put in place with the theory that home-based players would be favoured over those choosing to ply their trade overseas.
But it has appeared increasingly irrelevant, with a host of current Welsh internationals turning out for the national side despite playing in England or France, although the ‘law’ will reportedly only allow 2 wildcard selections from those playing outside the country after this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Tonga-born Faletau has a year left on his Dragons contract, but it seems increasingly likely he will be bought out of that deal, to the reported value of £ 250 000.00, with Premiership club Bath keen to sign the 24-year-old British and Irish Lions forward.
“We’re discussing it at the moment with the Dragons, the regions and Bath,” Gatland said.
“Toby’s got the biggest choice to make, that’s ongoing and hopefully that gets sorted out in the next week.
“There is potential there for Toby to move, that’s up to him, but he wouldn’t be hampered by that.
On Saturday Heyneke Meyer will give the 1st indication of which foreign-based players will feature in the World Cup.
Meyer is set to name his squad to play a World XV at Newlands on 11 July – with Jean de Villiers set to make his comeback from injury, most likely off the bench.
But it will also be the 1st opportunity for the foreign-based players to re-introduce themselves to the local lads.
The incumbent Springbok captain, De Villiers, dislocated his patella in the South Africa’s 6 / 12 loss to Wales in Cardiff at the end of November last year and had to undergo reconstructive knee surgery.
If his rehabilitation goes according to schedule, the Springbok captain will play his 1st proper match in 8 months in a Currie Cup warm-up clash for Western Province against the Pumas in Franschoek on 18 July.
Province then travel to Port Elizabeth a week later for another friendly against the EP Kings, where De Villiers is also expected to feature.
However, before that De Villiers is set to play for the Springboks in the World XV clash at Newlands for a few minutes.
There are plenty of South Africans plying their trade overseas and of course some of them could and will be selected in the 31-man squad come Saturday.
However, none of them have featured at the recent Springbok training camps.