Amidst the dark clouds surrounding Springbok rugby at the moment, Damian de Allende and Eben Etzebeth have shone some light by choosing country ahead of club.
After a superb 2015, which saw him win the Western Province’s Players Player of the Year, the Best Back award, as well as being nominated for the South African Rugby Player of the Year award in 2015, De Allende has been in horrible form this year.
And he admits that chasing the big bucks overseas and playing too much rugby has had a bad impact on his game and he won’t be returning to Japan soon.
With the concerning number of South African players currently plying their trade overseas, De Allende’s unselfish act might pave the way for many more to stay in the country.
He explains: “Playing in Japan did work against me. After the World Cup I only had four days off before flying out to Japan and starting my season there.
“I didn’t get any rest which was tough on the body. The Kintetsu Liners looked after me very well but I won’t be going back for the next two years.
“It’s been hard and I probably underestimated how tough it would be coming back. I’d benefit from an off-season.”
Etzebeth, who was also linked with a reported R665 000 per week deal in England, will also not take up the offer after suffering a concussion against England last weekend.