Rugby exodus at critical level



July 4, 2016
Rugby exodus at critical level

JUST WONT FLY: Johan Goosen

Saru must try best to identify and keep talent.

The player drain in our country will continue at the end of the season.

I counted no fewer than 36 players who will leave our shores permanently at the end of 2016 and didn’t take the likes of Elton Jantjies, who will leave for Japan and then return for Super Rugby duty, into consideration.

The number of South Africans currently plying their trade overseas is a |concern, especially if they are the best in their positions from the Rainbow Nation.

That was why I was a bit disappointed to hear that Johan Goosen opted to extend his contract in France until 2020. I really hoped he would somehow return to SA and give us some more options at flyhalf.

But with him having extended his contract, it would be nice if national coach Allister Coetzee would forget about him too.

Of the current crop that is leaving, there is only one |player that the Springboks might miss in years to come – JP Pietersen.

Currently the number |one winger in South Africa, Pietersen has signed for Leicester Tigers.

Ironically, he is also the only player of colour to leave the country on a permanent basis.

As for the rest of the |players, they are so-so stars.

One thing that is of concern to me, though, is the amount of tighthead props leaving. Not too long ago we were really short on players in this position.

And now no less than three Springboks – Marcel van der Merwe, Werner Kruger and Vincent Koch are leaving our shores.

I also think current Lions lock Franco Mostert has committed Bok career |suicide by signing for Lyon.

Sharks centre Paul Jordaan, meanwhile, is probably doing the right thing to leave for La Rochelle after not cracking the nod at national level over here, while I would really like the know what the deal is with almost Munster-owned Marcell Coetzee.

We all know that there are a hele klomp players plying their trade overseas and there will be even more leaving our shores in future.

It’s a bad thing for SA Rugby yes, but if the players leaving are so-so players, we just have to make sure |that the guys coming through are much better… and then we have to make sure that we give them a real shot at professional rugby.

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