Tug of war looms over Springbok U21 star
July 14, 2000

The South African and Australian Rugby Unions are set to clash over the future of former Western Province and Springbok under-21 star Daniel Vickerman.

Vickerman, a member of South Africa's triumphant Sanzar under-21 side of last year, has subsequently moved to Sydney and won selection to the Australian juniors. He qualifies for Australia through a grandfather who was born in Brisbane.

But Western Province (Pty) Ltd and Stormers chief executive officer Rob Wagner said on Thurdsday the former Bishops first-team star, who represented WP at senior level in a handful of games last year, is definitely in their plans.

"At the moment we're just waiting for the final decision on who handles the Super 12 contracts for next year. The South African Rugby Football Union wants to take over the contracting of the players and we will know by late July or early August what is going to happen," said Wagner.

In the meantime, Vickerman's agent is negotiating with both the Waratahs and the Brumbies. And while the youngster is in Australia, there is the danger of him being selected for a representative team that could make him ineligible for Springbok selection further down the line in his career.

South African under-21 coach Eric Sauls believes Vickerman can become a full Springbok. "I am convinced that we need Daniel in South Africa. I spoke to him at the recent under-21 tournament and got the feeling that he might be keen to come back. But there are a few regional teams over there who will also be interested," said Sauls.

Vickerman, who played 15 matches for WP last year, was non-committal about his future. "I'm enjoying myself here in Sydney. My parents are coming over and I just wanted to come and have a look. I haven't made up my mind yet about anything," he said.

"Province told me the door was open if I wanted to come back and were good to me. I haven't had any firm offers as yet from South Africa. At the moment, I'm enjoying Australia. I just want to play rugby and enjoy myself. I'm not closing any doors," he added.

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