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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter


White is right: SA teams need Springbok stars to compete in Europe

The Bulls mentor has brought back multiple players, but more of them are needed.


Following his side’s 47-14 defeat to Leinster in the United Rugby Championship last Friday, Bulls boss Jake White did what all great sporting coaches do after heavy defeats, deflecting attention away from the result. In his post-match press conference, White shifted the attention from their loss, focussing instead on how SA teams will struggle to be competitive in European competitions if Springbok internationals are not playing for the local franchises.  The Bulls went to the break leading 14-12 after going pound-to-pound with Leinster, but in the second half they conceded 35 points and never threw a shot back. Their performance…

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Following his side’s 47-14 defeat to Leinster in the United Rugby Championship last Friday, Bulls boss Jake White did what all great sporting coaches do after heavy defeats, deflecting attention away from the result.

In his post-match press conference, White shifted the attention from their loss, focussing instead on how SA teams will struggle to be competitive in European competitions if Springbok internationals are not playing for the local franchises. 

The Bulls went to the break leading 14-12 after going pound-to-pound with Leinster, but in the second half they conceded 35 points and never threw a shot back.

Their performance in the second stanza was poor and Leinster were playing at Test rugby level. That could be because the majority of the Ireland national team play for the Dublin side. Leinster putting on Irish internationals in the second half and making the Bulls look like boys was a reality check.

Bring Boks home

This allowed White to once again emphasise that the best players South Africa has to offer have to be playing at home because the best players from Ireland, France and England play in their homelands.

On numerous occasions, White has mentioned that SA players abroad need to come back home, so they can help SA franchises when it comes to the knockout stages of the Champions Cup.

I’m inclined to agree with him because the local franchises will make up numbers and not compete in the Champions Cup without Bok internationals.

The Sharks have secured the services of overseas-based Springboks Andre Esterhuizen, Trevor Nyakane, and Jason Jenkins. They added them on top of their already heavy Bok contingency.

More players needed

White has also done his bit to bring back players like Wilco Louw, Akker van der Merwe and Willie le Roux, and they have helped, but more of them are needed.

He will have to knock on his CEO Edgar Rathbone’s door and ask him to increase the budget so he can recruit players who are abroad.

How that conversation will go is going to be interesting because, in an interview last month, Rathbone mentioned they won’t be making a lot of signings.

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