Prop CJ van der Linde caused a stir in the Springbok camp on the eve of the Test against Italy, at Newlands last Saturday, when he approached the South African team’s management with a lucrative offer he had received from a European club.
However, the burly front row forward, who played in his 50th Test at the weekend, has been told that any “negotiations” must be put on ice till next month.
Jan de Koning reports on Rugby 365 that it was reported at the weekend that Van der Linde could be lost to South African rugby, as a result of the offer from the European club.
The 27-year-old prop, who has a Bok contract that runs till December 31, approached Bok coach Peter de Villiers in the hope of getting a better Bok deal.
Andy Marinos, the General Manager National Teams at SA Rugby (the commercial arm of the South African Rugby Union), confirmed that they were approached by the Bok.
“We are aware of the situation,” Marinos told rugby365.com on Monday.
“CJ raised it with Peter and me on Friday before the [Italy] Test and we said that it was not the best time to be discussing the issue, but that would speak to him about it during the Tri-Nations tour.”
The Springboks depart for New Zealand later this week, where they will play the All Blacks in back-to-back Tri-Nations Tests on July 5 (in Wellington) and July 12 (Dunedin), before heading across the Tasman Sea to face the Wallabies in Perth on July 19.
Van der Linde’s contract ultimatum came after the Bok coach, De Villiers, had managed to lure captain John Smit, lock Victor Matfield and fullback Percy Montgomery back to South Africa.
Flyhalf Butch James also has an agreement in place which will see him play for the Boks when he has no commitments at his English club Bath.
Reports from Bloemfontein, Van der Linde’s hometown, suggested that the Bok prop will earn about ZAR5-million (about US$621,000) if he takes up the offer from abroad.
He also has a contract with the Free State Cheetahs, which will run out at the end of the Currie Cup season in October.
As it stands the prop has provincial obligations till October and must be available for international duty till December.
He could wait till the end of the year for his current contracts to run out or ask SA Rugby and the Cheetahs for an early release, should he decide to take up the offer from abroad.Tweet