Boks avoid tug of war over eligibility

Francois Louw (Gallo Images)
Francois Louw (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Springboks will not attempt to get flank Francois Louw released to play for them in Saturday’s Test against Wales in Cardiff, coach Allister Coetzee has stressed.

READ: Wales allowed to pick Faletau for Bok Test

The match falls outside World Rugby’s Test window which means players plying their trade outside of their home countries do not have to be released by their clubs.

Louw, who plays for Bath in England, No 8 Duane Vermeulen (Toulon, France) and lock Franco Mostert (Ricoh Black Rams, Japan) will not be available for Saturday’s Test at the Principality Stadium.

However, the Welsh have made efforts to get some of their players who play in England available for the South Africa Test.

The Dragons were keen having all of loose forward Taulupe Faletau (Bath), utility back Owen Williams (Gloucester), prop Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), flyhalf Rhys Priestland (Bath) and centre Jamie Roberts (Harlequins) available for the Test against the Boks.

They have succeeded in gaining at least the services of Faletau, whose English club Bath have released the player, despite them now running the risk of a hefty fine, or the unlikely sanction of points deduction from Premiership Rugby.

It has since emerged that Williams, Francis and Priestland have returned to their English clubs and appear unlikely to face the Boks, while it remains unclear what the situation is with Roberts.

The Springbok coach however said they had no plans to try and attain the services of Louw, despite the player also playing for Bath.

“I just follow Regulation 9 (availability of international players) and, from our point of view, Francois Louw is definitely not available for us,” Coetzee was quoted as saying on the Wales Online website.

"I cannot comment on the internal arrangement in the north but, if there is any agreement, I do not know about it."

Faletau’s case appears different to that of Louw, as the Tongan-born loose forward reportedly has release clause in his contract which states that he should always be allowed to represent Wales.

It is believed that he also turned down a financial incentive from Bath not to play against the Springboks.

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