The plans of six Springbok players to play under former Springbok coach Jake White for the Barbarians could be scuppered as SA Rugby has not released them for the game.
SuperRugby reports that SA Rugby has warned that it has not given permission for the six to play for the Barbarians against Australia at Wembley next month.
SA Rugby’s acting managing director Andy Marinos confirmed to Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Sondag that the organisation had not given permission for the players to play, and as things now stand there would be no Springboks participating.
The six players in question are captain John Smit, winger Bryan Habana, centre Jean de Villiers, scrumhalf Fourie du Preez, flanker Schalk Burger and lock Victor Matfield.
Marinos said there had been no request from the Barbarians for the players to be part of the festival game, and therefore no players had been released to play.
“Its unbelievable,” Marinos said, “Up to this moment nobody from the Barbarians has picked up a phone to call us and ask for permission. It seems that they have approached the players directly to join them for the game.
“SA Rugby has not given permission at this time and as the players are contracted to us they need to be given permission before they can play. The decision is in the hands of Springbok coach Peter de Villiers who will make a call within the next 10 days after he has personally consulted the players.”
While Marinos admitted SA Rugby had asked for insurance guarantees if the players were injured in the game, he denied that there was any malice in the decision.
“We have to make decisions on purely rugby grounds. At the moment the British and Irish Lions tour next year is our first priority and there is a question about the amount of rest the players need to have before joining their Super 14 franchises. We will make the decision on rugby grounds.”
The newspaper also reported that De Villiers and former Bok coach Jake White – who will coach the Barbarians – clashed behind the scenes about the refusal to release the players. White was allegedly unhappy with the decision.
Marinos said in response that “Jake needs to remember that he also refused permission for players to play for the Barbarians when he was coach.”
White was unavailable for comment.Tweet