Cobus Reinach says his decision to join the Northampton Saints at the end of the year was not a case of choosing club over country, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
In the latest issue of SA Rugby magazine, Reinach opens up about the reasoning behind his move to join the English club, while reiterating his enduring desire to play for the Springboks.
When Reinach confirmed that he had signed for the Saints in February, many lamented the loss of another talented Springbok to the overseas market, particularly as his announcement came just prior to SA Rugby’s 30-Test eligibility ruling for overseas-based players, which comes into effect from July.
Although Reinach only has 10 Test caps to his name, the 27-year-old reiterated that when he began negotiations with Northampton, it only became a real option to consider once it had been confirmed that they’d be willing to release him if he was called up for national duty.
‘I think what’s quite important to clarify is that when Northampton approached me, the first talking point was that I would still like be able to play for the Springboks if selected. There were other offers, but I didn’t even look at them if it seemed as if I had to put my Bok ambitions aside.’
In the end, Reinach was one of the unlucky players to miss out on selection for the upcoming June series against France, but he will remain available for the Rugby Championship as his Sharks contract still runs until the end of October.
In the wide-ranging interview with SA Rugby magazine, Reinach also addresses the speculation suggesting that a lack of communication and clarity from SA Rugby had played a considerable role in his decision to accept the Northampton offer.
However, he ultimately explains how his perspective on his career and life after rugby changed after suffering a serious knee injury last year.
‘When the option [from Northampton] came up, it really just shouted stability, and that was the main attraction about it. I’ve also been at the Sharks for eight years, and although I’ve loved my time in Durban, I thought it was perhaps time for a change of scenery, to have a new adventure and to experience a different rugby environment.’
The full article is available in the new SA Rugby magazine, which is on sale now.
Photo: Paul Ellis/Getty Images