No Springbok squad squad members will feature in a Rainbow Cup final or any franchise games against the British & Irish Lions.
Bok boss Jacques Nienaber’s first-ever squad consists of 24 home-based players, while the remaining 22 are based abroad.
On the domestic front, the Sharks have the most representatives in the squad with nine, followed by the Stormers with eight, the Bulls four, the Cheetahs with two and the Lions one.
But the four big franchises – the Bulls, Lions, Sharks Stormers – competing in the Rainbow Cup SA will now head into the final round of the competition without their Springbok players. The team who tops the log after this weekend will also head into the intercontinental north-south Rainbow Cup final without its Bok stars.
‘It is not easy when you are a franchise coach and you know some of these 46 players are going through to the Rainbow Cup final,’ Rassie Erasmus commented. ‘You know if the Bulls or Sharks go play Benetton or Munster, they are going to play without their Springboks,’ Erasmus said after the team announcement.
‘They understand it, and we mentioned it. It is not nice for them but we had good conversations about it and they understand it.
‘There might be occasions and it will be case by case, but I think it will be a very rare occasion that we might say this player needs some game time and we can release him for the Bulls, for instance,’ Erasmus said.
‘The problem there is you lose him for 10 days because they have to go into a bubble for 10 days for the Lions – that is part of the contract. If we really see this boy needs game time and he is not sharp; we don’t think he is where he should be. That would be a surprise because we have been all over them in the alignment camps.
‘In theory, it might change if there is common logic if we see this guy needs game time. We might release one or two, but we have to suffer the consequences of not having that guy for 10 days of coaching. In theory, nobody will play in the final of the Rainbow Cup and nobody will play in the British & Irish Lions’ provincial games from this squad.’
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