A number of South Africans playing in the English Premiership could lose their right to work in the United Kingdom at the end of the post-Brexit transition period.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, scouts have already started scouring the globe as Premiership clubs look to increase their overseas player quotas ahead of next season to offset the loss of players from South Africa, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, who will likely lose their work permits by default because the 2003 EU Association Agreement will not apply post 31 December.
As illustrated in the graphic below (via Daily Mail), the Worcester Warriors (12), London (10) and the Sale Sharks (9) boast the most Kolpak players in their respective squads and are thus set to be the most heavily affected.
Among the 12 clubs, there’s a combined total of 44 South Africans playing in the league, but that number will drop to 43 later on this year since it has already been confirmed that scrumhalf Cobus Reinach will trade the Northampton Saints for French side Montpellier at the end of the current European season.
South Africans in the Premiership:
Sale Sharks (9) – Akker van der Merwe, Coenie Oosthuizen, Lood de Jager, Dan du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Rob du Preez, Jono Ross, Faf de Klerk, Rohan Janse van Rensburg.
Worcester Warriors (8) – Richard Palframan, Nic Schonert, Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Matti Williams, Francois Hougaard, Francois Venter, Dean Hammond, Scott van Breda.
Gloucester (6) – Franco Marais, Ruan Dreyer, Corne Fourie, Gerbrandt Grobler, Franco Mostert, Ruan Ackermann.
Northampton Saints (4) – Michael van Vuuren, Francois van Wyk, David Ribbans, Cobus Reinach.
London Irish (3) – Pat Cilliers, Ruan Botha, Franco van der Merwe.
Harlequins (3) – Simon Kerrod, Stephan Lewies, Travis Ismaiel.
Wasps (3) – Nizaam Carr, Ashley Johnson, Juan de Jongh.
Exeter Chiefs (2) – Jannes Kirsten, Jacques Vermeulen.
Leicester Tigers (2) – Hanro Liebenberg, EW Viljoen.
Saracens (2) – Michael Rhodes, Vincent Koch.
Bristol Bears (1) – Shaun Malton.
Bath (1) – Francois Louw.
Photo: Getty Images