So how exactly did it come about that Heyneke Meyer ended up picking a Bok Rugby Championship squad with quite so many foreign-based players? And why exactly does this outfit, mean to be the cream of our nation’s talent, suddenly look quite so much like a retirement home for former Bulls players? Must say, I’m battling to see the logic.
Let’s not quibble about semantics, even though, I’m sure, SA Rugby will insist that players such as Morne Steyn, Juandre Kruger, Zane Kirchner and Bryan Habana aren’t officially “foreign based” since they’ve yet to actually play for their new clubs, or something. The fact is that we can no longer claim, with anything resembling a straight face, that local players will be given preference, or whatever the exact phrase was. This latest selection imposes no penalty whatsoever on the myriad players – mostly Bulls, it must be said – who have opted to turn their back on the domestic rugby scene. They get to have their cake and eat it; the good news for those left behind, it seems, is that there’s lots more cake where that came from.
Super Rugby, though, is starting to look a bit more like a stale grey biscuit, over-cooked and burnt around the edges and if the message we’re sending to players is that there’s actually no need to put their bodies through that crap in order to get selected for the Boks then, well, I don’t see why any of them should.
The squad itself, to my mind, contains few real surprises, given the way we know the coach thinks, but also contains little to get excited about – and also little to give one cause to expect a winning Rugby Championship campaign. There are far too many journeymen in the current picture – the fact that overseas-bound “stars” like Kruger and Kirchner are considered superior to anything that we currently have in the country to me speaks volumes. Bok rugby may, at the moment, boast a smattering of exciting young talent, but it’s also bedeviled by more than a few mediocre old boys who quite honestly need to be put out to pasture.
If, however, we are going to continue to do muddle-headed things like picking Fourie du Preez straight out of Japenese retirement, ahead of exciting youngster like Piet van Zyl or Cobus Reinach, or back the one-dimensional Bjorn Basson ahead of prodigious ball-playing talents in Gio Aplon and Lwazi Mvovo, then I guess we deserve what’s coming to us.Tweet