The player/coach exodus
Ten Springboks and other top players say goodbye to SA to go and earn a living overseas
π Austin Huns
Sπ Ulster π Connacht π Head of Saru rugby, Munster outh Africa is lacking a handbrake to stop the exodus of local players to overseas clubs.
Lions flanker Derick Minnie this week became one of at least 24 players – 10 of whom are Springboks – who are waving South African rugby goodbye to go and earn a living overseas.
Test players Vincent Koch, Marcel van der Merwe, Dean Greyling, Werner Kruger, Deon Stegmann, Franco Mostert, Schalk Burger, Marcel Coetzee, JP Pietersen and Willie le Roux are the Class of 2016 who will be playing overseas soon.
Koch, Van der Merwe, Mostert, Nic Groom, Pietersen and Le Roux are all currently also part of the Springbok and South African A sides.
Le Roux’s move to the Wasps still has to be confirmed, but everything points to his playing rugby at the English club as soon as he’s met his obligations at Canon Eagles in Japan.
The South African exodus is fuelled by more and more local coaches also joining overseas clubs. The value of the rand against overseas currencies and limited local opportunities are the driving forces behind coaches leaving the country. π Scarlets π Saru – Boks and Junior Boks defence coach, Munster
Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron is the latest of the SA training corps to go to Japan. He’s confirmed his commitment to the Japanese club Docomo Red Hurricanes.
The 29-year-old Minnie will report to Italian club Zebre on July 1. Because of injured knee ligaments, Minnie hasn’t been able to play thus far this year, after being a Lions stalwart π Zebre π Kubota Spears since 2006.
“I will always be a Lion,” Minnie told City Press’ sister publication, Rapport.
“But this is a new challenge for me and my family. Thanks to my rugby, we are getting the opportunity to explore the world and spend more time together. Not everyone gets an opportunity like this.
“There is so much to be thankful for after 11 years with the Lions. I’m going to miss the friends, team-mates, tours and team-building weekends a lot. But I know that I’ve given my all to the Lions.”
The South African Rugby Union would’ve taken note that it’s not only senior players like Minnie who are leaving the country.
More and more youngsters, like 21-year-old Blue Bulls Currie Cup lock Le Roux Roets, are willing to cut the cord with South African rugby to play overseas despite their youth.
“The opportunity to play for one of the biggest clubs on the planet, Racing Metro, will only be offered to you once,” said Roets.
“I believe the chance to play Top 14 rugby will make me a better lock.
“I’m also hoping to learn a lot from a player like François van der Merwe. But the Bulls and South Africa will always be very close to my heart.” André Tredoux π Free State and Kovsies U19 teams,
Docomo Red Hurricanes Jaco Kriel π Lions and
Kubota Spears Louis Schreuder π Stormers and
Kubota Spears Warren Whiteley π Lions and Docomo
Red Hurricanes Willie Britz π Cheetahs and
NTT Shining Arcs Dawie Theron π Junior Boks,
Docomo Red Hurricanes π Kubota Spears
I will always be a Lion. But this is a new challenge for me and my family. Not everyone gets an opportunity like this DERICK MINNIE
Eugene Eloff USA Marcell Coetzee Marnitz Boshoff Rassie Erasmus Jacques Nienaber England Ireland Wales Werner Kruger France Italy Derick Minnie Frans Ludeke Japan