Saru CEO Jurie Roux says the growing trend of other countries poaching South African rugby players at a young age is worrying.
Roux says while Saru cannot prevent players from furthering their careers overseas, the country needs to hold onto their best young talent.
'What is worrying is the targeting of our younger players – they are grabbing them at U20 and players who we foresee playing for us,' Roux said at the launch of the 2015 Varsity Cup. 'We've now changed the rule so the second qualifying is playing for the South African U20 side, so if you've played for the Junior Springboks since 2013 you cannot play for another country.'
South Africa has suffered from a growing number of young players moving to Europe with the aim of representing their adopted nations. Former Junior Springboks and Blue Bulls flanker CJ Stander will be eligible to turn out for Ireland after this year's World Cup, while Danie Poolman and Quinn Roux could feature in the tournament.
Roux says Saru is addressing the issues that have resulted in the loss of rugby talent, with a new contract model in the offing.
'The reality is there can only be about 40 Springboks in a year, so anybody who is not a Springbok is going to start looking overseas,' he said. 'It is a very tough position we are in, we can't keep 150 players in the country and contract all of them. We are working hard on a new contract model and how we are going to roll it out.'
Roux understands that Saru is unable to compete financially with the European clubs, but that they still had the means to keep certain Springboks in the country.
'We are saying to the players that when they start talking to overseas clubs they should inform us. We won't stop them from going overseas unless we really want to keep them in the country and if we can afford it.
'We can't bankrupt our business to keep players you have to look at the economic reality of what's affordable and what's not.'
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