With Test players now able to switch nationality once in their career, readers have had their say on which South African-born player should be brought back to play for the Springboks at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
On Wednesday, the World Rugby’s eligibility rules were changed to allow players to switch Test teams during their career after a three-year stand-down period and providing they have “a genuine, close, credible and established national link” to the country they now wish to represent (such as having a parent or grandparent who was born there).
The revised eligibility regulations will apply from 1 January, 2022.
While the law will undoubtedly benefit the Pacific Island nations – Tonga can now select former All Blacks fullback Charles Piutau and former Wallabies fullback Israel Folau – the Springboks may also be able to benefit in some way.
SARugbymag.co.za gave readers the opportunity to call one of 10 overseas-capped South African-born players back to boost the Springboks in 2023.
There was an overwhelming favourite, as Scotland winger Duhan van der Merwe earned 46% of votes.
The powerful finisher played against the Springboks during the British & Irish Lions series in July and August, as well as for Scotland in November.
Born in George, the younger brother of Bok hooker Akker would add considerable muscle to the team’s outside backs.
Readers would also like to see former Ireland No 8 CJ Stander come out of retirement in 2023. Stander called it a day earlier this year, playing his final game for Munster in May. The 31-year-old, who started his professional career with the Vodacom Bulls, was given 27% of the vote.
Other favourites included France capped lock Paul Willemse (9%) and veteran scrumhalf Rory Kockott (5%).