South Africa: Player Exodus - a Reality SA Rugby Must Deal With

Cape Town — An ongoing player exodus is something South African rugby is going to have to learn to deal with, new Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie has stressed.

Fourie, who spoke exclusively to Sport24 on the matter, said coaches may also be necessitated to fast-track players into playing PRO14 and Super Rugby at a younger age.

It's no secret that several stars are leaving South African shores and the situation looks set to become more dire after this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

"Until the Rand value does not improve against the Pound and Euro, then it won't be stopped. We have a lot of talented players in the country, but what worries me is the fact that kids are now leaving for France and Japan straight after school. And it's some of the top guys in the country," Fourie said.

Examples of talented schoolboys leaving include Western Province flyhalf Kade Wolhuter and his Free State counterpart FC du Plessis, both stars at the recently completed Craven Week at Grey College in Bloemfontein.

The duo did not crack a nod for SA Schools selection, presumably because they have already signed with big-spending French clubs - Wolhuter will join Montpellier's academy next year, while Du Plessis is off to Toulon.

"Those are guys who needed to play PRO14 and Super Rugby in three, four years' time. Now they're also gone out of our system. Things will get tough for us going forward," Fourie added.

Fourie acknowledged that there was a great amount of talent in the country, but stressed the importance of player development which would culminate in players featuring at the top level at a younger age.

"We have a large pool of talented players, but we can't afford to rest on our laurels and think that we'll be alright and there will always be guys coming through. I think all of us would need to work a lot harder at the development of players.

"Players will have to be ready to play PRO14 and Super Rugby at a younger age... and you'll have to make peace that you'll lose them at a younger age because the money on the other side is just too much."

Source: Sport24

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