Boks’ Ja­panese hon­ey­moons are over

CityPress - - Sport - HEN­DRIK CRONJÉ sport@city­

The con­tracted Spring­boks’ Ja­panese hon­ey­moons seem to be a thing of the past.

None of the Boks who had joint con­tracts with the SA Rugby Union (Saru) and their unions for the past 12 months will play in this year’s Cur­rie Cup.

City Press’ sis­ter pa­per, Rap­port, has con­firmed that Saru has in­cluded a clause in its con­tracts stip­u­lat­ing that play­ers have to rest in Oc­to­ber this year.

The Boks’ last Rugby Cham­pi­onship test is on Oc­to­ber 8 in Dur­ban against the All Blacks, af­ter which con­tracted play­ers must rest for two weeks be­fore be­ing al­lowed to start train­ing again for Novem­ber’s Euro­pean tour.

The Bar­bar­ians at Twick­en­ham on Novem­ber 5 will be the team’s first op­po­nents on tour.

“The clause was in­tro­duced so that we can en­sure the team is bet­ter man­aged,” said an in­formed source.

No one is pre­pared to say it openly, but the large num­ber of South African play­ers in­jured in Ja­pan or af­ter vis­its there be­cause of too much rugby has forced Saru to take steps.

“Since the con­tracted Boks must rest in Oc­to­ber and then tour Europe in Novem­ber, it leaves them no op­por­tu­nity to play in Ja­pan, be­cause play­ers can’t re­port there only in De­cem­ber.

“Saru pays the salaries of up to 70% of our top play­ers th­ese days, and they are well paid. There may be a few ex­cep­tions who may be al­lowed to play in the Cur­rie Cup or in Ja­pan, such as Han­dré Pol­lard, who had lit­tle play­ing time be­cause of in­juries.”

Some of the coun­try’s lead­ing con­tracted Spring­boks were al­lowed to play in Ja­pan af­ter the World Cup in 2015, as Saru wanted to en­sure they signed joint con­tracts and did not ac­cept over­seas of­fers. Rap­port has learnt that one of the top Boks had the op­tion of a con­tract of R12 mil­lion per year in France, and Saru could con­tract him only through the Ja­panese con­ces­sion.

How­ever, Saru now wants to pre­vent the con­tracted Spring­boks from play­ing too much rugby and re­turn­ing from Ja­pan with in­juries.

An­other in­formed source told Rap­port that Ian McIn­tosh and Peter Jooste, who were na­tional se­lec­tors in the Jake White and Heyneke Meyer eras, re­ceived let­ters from Saru con­firm­ing the se­lec­tion com­mit­tee was go­ing to change.

An an­nounce­ment is ex­pected shortly about the new com­mit­tee, as soon as Saru has asked its unions to nom­i­nate suit­able can­di­dates.

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