Springboks

Rassie still has no clarity on Franco Mostert

Franco Mostert (Gallo Images)
Franco Mostert (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The tug-of-war between the Lions and Gloucester over the services of Springbok lock Franco Mostert even has national coach Rassie Erasmus confused. 

Mostert was not named in a 20-man Bok camp that has been based in Stellenbosch all week, and at this stage his availability for the November 3 Test against England at Twickenham is also in doubt. 

While Gloucester announced the signing of Mostert earlier this year, the Lions hit back this month by saying they were holding onto the player. 

It has all been a bit of a mess, but Mostert will in all likelihood sign with the Johan Ackermann-coached English club at the beginning of next month. 

That would rule him out of the Test against England, along with all of the other European-based Boks. 

"The only one that I can't give you a straight up answer on is Franco Mostert," Erasmus said from Stellenbosch on Friday.

"If he is currently a Gloucester player he won't be available for the English Test match and if he is a Lions player he will be.

"That's the only reason why I haven't named him in the squad, because I don't have clarity yet.

"The nice thing about Franco is that he has played almost every single Test match so there is not a lot of stuff that he'll have to catch up with."

While the likes of Faf de Klerk, Willie le Roux, Francois Louw and Vincent Koch will not be allowed to play against England, Erasmus could still call on them for the next three Tests as those all fall within the World Rugby international window. 

The Bok coach, however, seems to have agreements in place with some of the players and clubs and while he would not open up on them on Friday, it is clear that the overseas-based Boks will be used sparingly in November.

"With all of them it's pretty simply. If you enforce the regulation, they have to pitch up on the Sunday before the Test," Erasmus explained.

"We can, at any time, say we want a player but there is a human factor to it too. There are families and futures involved and you don't want to ruin things just because you're being stubborn.

"The relationships we have currently with the clubs now are not give and take, but fair.

"Some of them will definitely play, without a doubt."

While Erasmus wants to win, he is also mindful of the fact that he needs to create depth before next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan. That thinking is also likely to guide his use of overseas-based players of the next month.

"I know I say it a lot, but we have to take a few chances to see what we're going to take to the World Cup," Erasmus said.

"For example, with Faf it would be good to put another 10 caps into him before he goes to the World Cup. But, who is the next No 9 and when are we going to give him a proper chance?

"It's things like that that sometimes keep me up at night, lying awake thinking about what the best decision is. There are a few (overseas) players that we will definitely use in those in-window Tests, without a doubt."

The Boks tackle England (London, November 3), France (Paris, November 10), Scotland (Edinburgh, November 17) and Wales (Cardiff, November 24) on their tour.

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