Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

SA confirm contracted players

Bryan Habana is set to join Toulon

Record try-scorer Bryan Habana is among six South Africa internationals left off a list of contracted players due to their impending moves abroad.

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) confirmed that senior internationals Habana, Morne Steyn, JP Pietersen, Andries Bekker, Juandre Kruger and Zane Kirchner had not been given contract renewals for 2013.

"All six of these players were going to receive contracts, but the fact that they have indicated that they have signed with overseas clubs or are planning to do so, has ruled them out of the reckoning," SARU chief executive officer Jurie Roux said.

Springboks coach Hanke Meyer admitted losing the players abroad was not ideal, but welcomed the chance for the likes of rising stars Eben Etzebeth, Marcell Coetzee, Juan de Jongh and Pat Lambie to be included on the 15-man list.

"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," he said.

"Losing experienced players to overseas teams is not ideal, but it's their right to further their careers abroad."

Habana, who has scored 47 tries in 83 Tests, is set to move to Toulon at the end of the Super 15 season but has previously stated his intention to remain available for national duty.

Steyn and Kruger will follow him to France while Pietersen and Bekker are set to take up lucrative deals in Japan.

Kirchner will join established Springboks Ruan Pienaar and Francois Louw in Great Britain to underline the player drain caused in part by South Africa's falling currency.

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.

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