Which overseas Saffers should Coetzee pick?

Allister Coetzee (Gallo Images)
Allister Coetzee (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The status quo remains - for now - and new Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has been given the green light to pick overseas-based players for the remainder of 2016.

At Tuesday's unveiling, Coetzee suggested that all overseas-based players - with the exception of Bryan Habana - would be available for the Inbound Series against Ireland in June. 

It leaves Coetzee with a lot of options, but also a lot of tough decisions. 

There are a number of quality South Africans currently plying their trade on the European circuit, and not all of them can be included, especially with SA Rugby's desire to progress to a place where the national side is made up of players who play their rugby in the country.  

These are just some of the names that Coetzee might be thinking about when selecting his first Bok squad:

Duane Vermeulen 

Club - Toulon

Tests - 35

A virtual no-brainer and the first name that comes to mind when thinking about cashing in on the availability of overseas-based players. Coetzee knows him well, and he will surely be a big part of the new Bok era.

Francois Louw

Club - Bath 

Tests - 43

Was a major part of the Springboks' World Cup charge last year and is still considered one of the best loosies in world rugby. Hard to see him not getting the call-up from Coetzee.

Steven Kitshoff

Club - Bordeaux 

Tests - 0 

Unlucky to have missed out on a place in the RWC 2015 squad ... a knee injury in the build-up to the tournament ruining his chances of impressing Heyneke Meyer. Coetzee is a big fan of the red-headed loosehead from their time together at Newlands. 

Schalk Brits

Club - Saracens

Tests - 10

At 34, Brits may well have run his Springbok race. His inclusion in the RWC 2015 squad was as the third-choice hooker, but with Bismarck du Plessis and Adriaan Strauss still around, there might not be a need for him again.

Jannie du Plessis

Club - Montpellier

Tests - 70

By the end of RWC 2015, Du Plessis had lost his place in the starting line-up to Frans Malherbe. He will struggle to get back to the top of the tighthead pecking order, but might still get a call from the new Bok boss.

Flip van der Merwe

Club - Clermont

Tests - 37

Van der Merwe flirted with making the RWC 2015 squad. He has had his issues with SA Rugby, declaring himself unavailable for selection before doing a U-turn before the World Cup. It wasn't enough to book him a place in the squad, but this could be a fresh start.

Bismarck du Plessis 

Club - Montpellier 

Tests - 79

Probably has more of a chance of a call-up than his older brother. At 31, Bismarck will still have some left in the tank. His form for Montpellier has been good this season, and based on that he still has a lot to offer.

Willem Alberts 

Club - Stade Francais

Tests - 38

Alberts is not really considered the type of linking loose forward who can help accommodate a more expansive Springbok game, but he has the international pedigree. He is 31 now, and if he does not get into Coetzee's squad early on it may be the beginning of the end for the former Sharks man.

Heinrich Brussow

Club - NTT Docomo Red Dragons

Tests - 23

Currently in Japan, the 29-year-old still has a reputation as one of the best genuine fetchers in South African rugby. 

Andries Bekker

Club - Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers

Tests - 29

A dark horse, and at 32 another call-up is unlikely, but Bekker did play under Coetzee in Japan during the coach's brief stint at the Steelers. 

Ruan Pienaar 

Club - Ulster

Tests - 88

This is an interesting one. Pienaar was poor at RWC 2015 and with the emergence of scrumhalves like Rudy Paige and Faf de Klerk, while Cobus Reinach is still plodding along at the Sharks, he might just be left out in the cold in June.

Bryan Habana

Club - Toulon

Tests - 117

Not available for the June Tests, but the fact that Coetzee made a point of clarifying that this week suggests that Habana still has a future in the green and gold. 

Zane Kirchner 

Club - Leinster

Tests - 31

Kolbe, Le Roux, Lambie, Kriel ... there are surely too many options for Coetzee at fullback to consider going back to Kirchner.

Johan Goosen 

Club - Racing Metro

Tests - 6

It seems like an age ago that Goosen was considered the No 10 that would take the Springboks forward. With Handre Pollard and Pat Lambie out injured, Goosen will be hoping he gets the nod to play back-up to Elton Jantjies in June.

Frans Steyn

Club - Montpellier 

Tests - 53

Steyn is still just 28 and it would be a shame if his international career was over already. The Coetzee era could represent a clean slate for the big-booted utility back, but the competition for places is tough. 

Have we left anybody out? Let us know which overseas-based players you would like to see in the Springbok squad by tweeting us @Sport24news ...

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