The group’s average age is 26 and includes a core of players from the 2012 season which saw the Boks rise from 4th place in the world ranking to 2nd. It includs Bok stalwarts such Jean de Villiers, Tendai Mtawarira and Bismarck du Plessis.
Players who will be base overseas we not offered contracts as part of SARU’s attempt to keep home grown talent at home. Players like Brian Habana, Flyhalf Morne Steyn, fullback Zane Kirchner, wing JP Pietersen, along with locks Andries Bekker and Juandre Kruger have all been left out of contract due to their plans to move overseas.
“We’ve kept as many of our top players in South Africa as we could by awarding them national contracts, despite the powerful lure of the British Pound, Euro and Yen, We worked hard with the Springbok management and SARPA to ensure the best possible deal is placed on the table for the players.” Said SARU CEO Jurie Roux.
“A further five contracts are still available and will be finalised in due course. Last year provided [Bok coach] Heyneke Meyer with an ideal opportunity to see what is needed in the Test arena, and by contracting this group of players, we have secured a core group for 2013. The average age of the contracted group is not very high for Test rugby, which bodes well for the future.” Added Roux.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said: “I’m very excited about the contract group. Most of these players showed last year they have what it takes to play for the Springboks and they can only get more experienced and improve further. Losing experienced players to overseas teams is not ideal, but it’s their right to further their careers abroad.”
Springbok contract group: Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Hougaard, Pat Lambie, Tendai Mtawarira, Pierre Spies, Frans Steyn, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen.