Butch James may be lost to Springbok rugby if attempts to lure him back to South Africa fail.
James has received offers from the Lions and Sharks to follow fellow Boks John Smit, Percy Montgomery and Victor Matfield home but if that fails, Bok coach Peter de Villiers may find it difficult to choose him for the Bok Tests, according to News24.
The other Boks have returned home, but James continues with his two year contract with Bath.
James, who established himself as the top Springbok flyhalf last year and was instrumental in the Springboks victory in the World Cup, moved to Bath after the tournament but was called back for Springbok duty for the Tests against Wales, where he played a major part in the 2-0 Test sweep over the Six Nations champions.
However, a new IRB ruling that limits the number of Tests overseas players can play for their country, has prompted national coach Peter de Villiers to leave prop BJ Botha at home and warn that James may be on the same route.
Botha has signed for Irish club Ulster, while another Bok CJ Van der Linde this week signed a three year contract with Leinster.
Botha was dropped for the Tri-Nations while De Villiers has intimated that Van der Linde was lucky to be picked.
“The problem with the ruling is that players can only play a certain amount of Tests and we need to decide where to utilise these players best,” De Villiers told Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Sondag.
“Players at overseas clubs will become ‘special players’ to us that we will use in a crisis. In CJ’s situation, he signed a three year contract and it makes it difficult to bring him back.
The November Tests are in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere season and we want players to rather base themselves in South Africa.”
De Villiers said the same rules applied to James, who the paper revealed had received offers from the Sharks and Lions to return home to play.
“If there isn’t a result there, it will be difficult to pick him for the team.” De Villiers added.
James is expected to be the starting flyhalf for the Tri Nations.Tweet