We could see a return of the likes of Bismarck du Plessis back in the Bok setup as Rassie prepares for next year’s World Cup.
A number of players plying their trade outside the country could find themselves back in the reckoning for the Boks if director of rugby Rassie Erasmus is to get his way.
According to Rapport, Erasmus has held talks with a number of overseas-based players in a bid to involve them in the setup going into the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
SA Rugby ‘s selection policy as it is does not allow for overseas-based players with less than 30 Test caps to qualify for selection into the national team but, according to the publication, the former Bok skipper has in his sights a few players with only a handful of appearances for the side.
Reports suggest that Erasmus has contacted Saracens prop Vincent Koch, who is contracted to the European champions until June 2019, to negotiate an early release in order to join one of the South African franchises.
Other players said to be on Erasmus’ radar are World Cup winners Francois Steyn, Bismarck du Plessis and JP Pietersen – as well as Racing 92’s Pat Lambie, Montpellier’s Jan Serfontein and the Wasps duo of Juan de Jongh and Willie Le Roux, who all qualify for selection under the SA Rugby overseas-based player policy.
Erasmus is also keen on Toulon’s Duane Vermeulen who was a part of the Springbok’s end of the year tour as well as former Lions scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, who now plies his trade for Sale Sharks in England – although, like Koch, the 26-year old falls considerably short of the required number of Tests required for selection under the policy.
Following Allister Coetzee’s departure from the post of head coach, Erasmus is expected to take over its responsibilities until the World Cup next year.
The Springboks’ first assignment will be against world number 2 England who arrive in South Africa in June. Erasmus attended their Six Nations clash against Wales in Twickenham on Saturday.