Bok captain CAN be based overseas

Duane Vermeulen (Gallo Images)
Duane Vermeulen (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - There is no rule stating that the next Springbok captain be based in South Africa. 

That was the word coming out of SA Rugby on Wednesday following a media report over the weekend that overseas-based players would not be considered for the captaincy. 

Allister Coetzee was unveiled as the new Springbok coach in Johannesburg on Tuesday, and immediately attention turned to who he would be picking as Jean de Villiers' successor. 


A report over the weekend suggested that the new Bok captain must be based in South Africa, but SA Rugby confirmed to Sport24 on Wednesday that there was no such rule. 

"There has never been such a rule," an SA Rugby representative said.

Coetzee, for now, can choose whoever he wants for the Inbound Series against Ireland in June ... and that applies to his captain too.

How long the new coach will have that freedom is a little murkier, though. 

SA Rugby president Oregan Hoskins confirmed at Coetzee's unveiling that while the policy of selecting overseas-based players remained for the time being, it was something that would need to be revisited at a later stage.

"As a sport we have to look seriously at whether we can continue to pick the Springbok team from players who are outside of the country," Hoskins said.

"That's just a fact and what we as administrators have to look at seriously. I'm glad that right now we are allowing the coach the freedom to choose the best team.

"But I think going forward it would be remiss of us not to look seriously at our policy of allowing national players to ply their trade overseas.

"We understand that our currency is weak, but at the end of the day we have to look at whether playing in the national team - which is predominantly based overseas - is actually helping our cause or not.

"We need to look at it as we go forward ... we have to put South Africa first and look at it seriously as we go forward now."

Among those overseas-based players in the reckoning to take over as captain, Duane Vermeulen, who currently plays for Toulon in France, was Coetzee's Super Rugby captain at the Stormers in 2015 while Francois Louw is based in Bath in England. 

Springbok veteran Schalk Burger, meanwhile, is in his final season at the Stormers before he leaves for Saracens in England. 

The Springboks take on Ireland in Cape Town on June 11 in what will be Coetzee's first match in charge, followed by Tests in Johannesburg (June 18) and Port Elizabeth (June 25).

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