Overseas Boks given green light to continue
May 23, 2008

Springboks coach Peter de Villiers will be allowed to select as many overseas-based players as he wishes following a decision of the President's Council on Friday.

The Council decided to broaden their ground-breaking 2004 decision to allow the Springbok coach to select up to three overseas-based players.

That decision had been briefly suspended in 2007 to ensure only South African-based players be eligible to play for the Springboks.

In a statement released this afternoon, SARU President Oregan Hoskins said,"We want to give the Springbok coach the best tools to do the job to the best of his ability and this decision does that.

"We do not expect the floodgates to open and it is our expectation that only a small number of overseas-based may be called up.

"But the Council was very clear that the selection of overseas-based players should place no expectation or obligation on the provinces to re-contract or offer new contracts to players. Returning players must understand that there can be no guarantees beyond their SA Rugby remuneration."

De Villiers currently has four players who have been playing overseas in his Springbok training squad - John Smit, Victor Matfield, Butch James and Percy Montgomery.

In related news, a special meeting of the President's Council and the chief executives of the provincial unions has been called to accelerate the process of rolling the professional and amateur arms of rugby back into one structure.

A task committee was previously established to drive the process forward following the acceptance of the principle in February 2007. The President's Council on Friday approved the strategic plan on Friday and called the special meeting to take place shortly on a date to be agreed.

Unions were asked to make submissions at least 14 days before the meeting on the structure and pressing subsidiary issues such as the division of television revenues.

"Unifying the organisation under one structure is of over-riding importance," said Mr. Oregan Hoskins, the president of SARU. "Much hard work has already been done by a sub-committee but now is the time to get more direct input from the unions. A very important part will also be consulting with staff on the way forward, once we have got a clear framework in place."

The President's Council also appointed the following committees:

National selectors: Peter Jooste and Ian McIntosh (serving with the Springbok and Emerging SA national team coaches)

U20 selector: Timmy Goodwin (serving with the U20 coach)

Sevens selectors: Norman Mbiko, Maree Bester (serving with the Sevens coach)

Women's selectors: Reginald Farao, Bongo Nontshinga (serving with the Women's coach)

Management committee: Hein Mentz (chairman of finance committee, Mpumalanga), Peter Hassard (chairman of remuneration committee, KwaZulu-Natal), Jan Marais (Griffons), Dawie Groenewald (Griquas), James Stoffberg (Leopards), Pat de Silva (Eastern Province). The president, deputy president, vice president, chief executive, managing director and financial director are automatically members of the committee.

Audit and risk committee: Boet Fick (Blue Bulls), Cliffie Pringle (Border).

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