The Springboks could be without a number of European-based players for the Test against Scotland, as it falls outside of the IRB Test window. BRENTON CHELIN reports.
This casts doubt over whether key players like Morné Steyn, Bakkies Botha, Bryan Habana and Francois Louw will feature for the Boks in Port Elizabeth.
The issue revolves around IRB Regulation Nine, which stipulates that players are to be released for the second, third and fourth week of June or for three matches. Having kicked-off the Test season on 7 June against the World XV, the players who featured in Cape Town can be recalled by their club teams overseas.
After speaking with Springbok management, they maintain that the focus is on the second Test against Wales, and a decision will only be made following Saturday's match in Nelspruit. They will have no option but to comply should the clubs wish to enforce the regulation. There is a belief, though, that the Boks have the squad to cope with the potential loss of these experienced campaigners, having chosen a large training group from the outset.
Despite these assertions, this will be another blow to Heyneke Meyer in what has proven a highly disruptive couple of weeks.
On the flip side, their absence might provide the fringe players with an opportunity to impress against what is a makeshift Scottish squad. Players like Teboho Mohoje and S'bura Sithole have seen no action so far during the Test window, with Meyer instead opting for consistency in selection.
His hand may be forced though with the withdrawal of his stalwarts, although in truth the match against Scotland was always likely to be the opportunity to blood some of the younger players. Scotland struggled past Canada this past weekend, and have been severely weakened by the same IRB regulation, with only players from Edinburgh and Glasgow eligible for the South African Test.
It remains to be seen which players will be absent for the final Test of the June window, but the Springbok team seems likely to have a different look about it in Port Elizabeth next Saturday.
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