Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Jake White has welcomed SA Rugby's decision to remodel its contracting system.
It was announced last week that, moving forward, SA Rugby would completely scrap its rule that overseas-based players need to have 30 Test caps to be eligible for Springbok selection.
In addition, SA Rugby committed to enforcing Regulation 9 - a World Rugby ruling that forces clubs to make their international players available during the Test match windows for up to 14 weeks a year.
In his column for All Out Rugby, White applauded the decision.
"This should have been done a long time ago. If we had taken a stand on Regulation 9 when our players first started going overseas, European clubs would quickly have realised that signing South Africans is risky business," White wrote.
"We should never have allowed a situation where players with 30 or more caps could go overseas and still be regulars for the Boks. Running out for the Springboks and wearing that jersey should always be the pinnacle of any South African player’s career. But it’s like a parent that lets their child cross the line for a while and is now putting their foot down - better late than never!
"There’s no club in the world that wants to sign a player knowing that he could be missing at important parts of the season. What’s going to happen now is that those European clubs are going to think twice about signing SA players because they could be pulled out of the squad every time there’s a national team selection. And the spin-off from that is you’re going to get more talent staying in South Africa and developing the next generation of players.
"However, to get this right, it’s crucial that SA Rugby doesn’t allow certain players to occasionally excuse themselves from Tests without retiring from international rugby, because that will make a mockery of this plan."