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Rassie "now loses control" over most of the checkers



Cape Town – Call the impending hangover to follow the sublime, unifying nationwide party.

For the first time in history, SA Rugby is about to lose significant levels of eligibility – most relevant when it comes to workload monitoring – over the majority of the top pickers, most recently the World Cup-winning Springboks.

That means Rassie Erasmus the outgoing head coach who still remains integrated into Bok Immediate Future Plans as a director of rugby, is on the verge of experiencing the previously never-before-seen trait of having less than 50 percent of his current "first XV" stationed in the midst of domestic franchise services when a new season looms at the end of January.

Erasmus and one or two forerunners as the head of the national team teammind have made a special effort in recent years to install comfortable levels of collaboration with Super Rugby franchise services over the use and well-being of the core box.

It will soon become a heavily watered down "arrangement", however, especially when applied to the decided core of Boks' triumphant march during the knockout phase of RWC 201

9 in Japan.
[19659002] The relocation of star names to lucrative foreign club battles has reached a point where more than half of that group – to be exact – will begin 2020 outside the Super Rugby landscape, which contains all four of South Africa's traditionally biggest-name franchises.

Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Damian de Allende (although the inspirational RWC midfield figure can still see some service to Stormers late in his campaign), Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk, Duane Vermeulen, Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager will all now be predominantly on the books with foreign clothing.

Of the current Book First XV, which leaves only Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi (Hajar) and Captain Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toi t, Frans Malherbe and Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers) still locally based and may fall in line with the intended, constructive "report" during the demanding Super Rugby battle between franchises and the umbrella body.

Loosehead prop legend Tendai Mtawarira has now retired from Test Rugby, but that leaves Steven Kitshoff – currently contracted on cash-challenged Newlands – as his most obvious replacement in the No. 1 jersey.

The little silver lining for Erasmus and companies, then, is that they will retain (at the moment) a meaningful sense of jurisdiction over five of the Book players who have the foremost status in the field of play that provides the heaviest physical requirements of rugby: the pack.

Having all five on business with Stormers – unless there is no dramatic alternative development during the season – will also be valuable to Cape Town-based Erasmus and his SA Rugby managers more generally.

L ikes by Kolisi and Du Toit, not always rotated as often as others as the 2019 season reached a crescendo, must be completely exhausted after the World Cup joy and the near weekly home comparisons and other duties, and will need serious boot time in the next few months – and then careful use in Super Rugby 2020 itself.

A delicate balance must, of course, be achieved as Stormers under a new coach in John Dobson, is under pressure to increase his performance in the competition after a tough place in 10th place this year.

WP Rugby also desperately wants meaningful talk of pimples in seats in almost certainly the nostalgic final year of professional rugby in Newlands, and a crucial part of this desire will naturally involve the public watching the franchise service's Web Ellis Cup- clinching stars as much as possible.

As far as the foreign-based Springboks are concerned, plus in a few months leading up to a new test campaign – in mid-2020 – most of them will travel less through debilitating time zones than their colleagues who still resides in the vast Super Rugby landscape.

But their big absence from the season, routine checks and updates with SA Rugby will still be of some concern for the accurate, accurate planner who is Erasmus.

There were particularly minor problems after the previous World Cup 2015, for example, when only five of the 15 (one-third) who started the narrowly abandoned New Zealand semi-final at Twickenham did not return to the SA franchise agreement immediately afterwards: Bryan Habana, Fourie du Preez, Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw and Bismarck du Plessis.

The last time South Africa won the World Cup, 2007, all their starters from the Paris finals were due to return to local contracts.
[19659002] Times have We really changed dramatically …

* Follow our author on Twitter: @RobHouwing


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