Exiles unlikely to be Boks

South African stars currently plying their trade overseas are unlikely to be involved in the forthcoming Test series against the Lions. [more]

Exiles unlikely to be Boks

South African stars currently plying their trade overseas are unlikely to be involved in the forthcoming Test series against the Lions.

Springbok head coach Peter de Villiers has confirmed that he will be basing his selection first and foremost on players playing within South Africa itself.

Although he hasn’t completely ruled out picking in-form overseas players, de Villiers has made it clear that South Africa’s European contingent will only be chosen as a last resort.

"We are in a nation-building process so we need to make role models at home," explained de Villiers.

"I will only turn to those [overseas] players if we can’t find anybody else.

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"Those guys are good rugby players who never let South Africa down, but we are looking in our own country."

De Villiers’ hard-line stance means that Bath’s impressive fly-half Butch James is likely to be surplus to requirements, as are Leinster prop CJ van der Linde and Toulon flanker Joe van Niekerk.

James and van der Linde both started the 2007 World Cup Final against England, while van Niekerk has more than 50 international caps to his name.

De Villiers’ approach fully justifies the decisions of key Springboks such as John Smit and Victor Matfield to return home from contracts in time for the start of the new southern hemisphere season. Both Smit and Matfield explained their desire to face the Lions and returned from lucrative European deals in order to pursue that dream.

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