Rassie Erasmus says South African rugby is reaping the rewards – and saving millions of rands – with English clubs stocking their squads with SA players.
In a wide-ranging column for the Daily Mail, Erasmus alluded to how the England RFU allowing the likes of Faf de Klerk to play regularly in the Premiership has not only benefited the Springboks, but also set back England’s next generation of stars.
He believes the weak rand also discourages foreign players from playing in SA, allowing young local players to feature prominently domestically, as well as in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.
“People say South Africa are stupid for allowing our players to leave. Is it stupid? Look at England, there are six or seven South African players taking the places of young English players at Premiership clubs,” Erasmus writes.
“For us, it’s wonderful. Among about 32 players we are looking at, they’re probably earning 400-million rand that doesn’t have to come off our accounts.
“Meanwhile, back in South Africa, we have the next South African lock coming through because there is no financial incentive for players to come here.
“Is it good for England that Faf de Klerk is starting ahead of Raffi Quirke at Sale? No. Is it good for South Africa? Yes, it works for us.”
SA’s director of rugby also noted how France’s Six Nations triumph this season, and Les Bleus’ threat to the Boks’ world title in 2023, could be attributed to their clubs’ tougher stance on picking overseas talent.
Erasmus wrote: “Going into a World Cup, you need depth. Ideally two world-class players per position and one youngster chasing hard across the team.
“A few years ago, France introduced a tougher policy about foreign players in their club teams and that’s made them successful.”