Decision on Springboks coach now next month

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    19 Dec 2017     Getty Images

Following speculation that Coetzee, after a review last week, was about to be shown the door this week after winning only 11 Tests of 25 played over two seasons, South Africa Rugby outlined their position in a press release.

"In light of considerable speculation, please be advised that SA Rugby (SARU) will not be in a position to respond to questions regarding that speculation on the coaching of the national team until the New Year.

"A number of meetings and reviews are in progress on all national teams, after which plans for all teams in 2018 will be confirmed."

Meanwhile, SARU chief executive Jurie Roux has told Rugby World magazine in a special feature on player migration around the rugby world that South African rugby has been harmed by the player drain which has resulted in more than 350 South African players playing abroad.

"Last year we had 373 players playing in European club competitions. Any other country that loses that amount of players cannot compete on a national level.

"Take 373 players players out of New Zealand, Australia, England, Ireland and France – see if they compete. It would be tough. We have the proof," he said.

As has been experienced on a smaller scale in New Zealand, players were heading overseas at a younger age than in the past when it was almost traditional that players would round out their careers with an overseas contract.

"They are becoming younger," Roux said of the players leaving.

"People are coming to our youth weeks, our Craven Weeks – our Under-18 aspirational tournaments. They are recruiting them at Under-18. The list [of talent leaving] is getting longer," he said.

In a bid to halt the loss of experience at the top of the game, SA Rugby changed their policy of eligibility of overseas-based players for the Springboks to 30 or more Test caps. An exception was made in a Rugby World Cup year. However, it was still too early in its application to see if it was having an effect.

Another issue raised was the role of unaccredited player agents in contributing to the problem by exploiting loopholes in the rules SA Rugby have towards agents.

In Touch Sports spokesman James Adams said there were forces holding back required changes to regulations.

"We are reaching a stage now where if it doesn't happen by the end of this year, we are all about to split from SARU's Agents' Association and disband.

"Should this happen we are just going to move every player we can abroad. We have all had enough. Why must we support provincial unions who go and work with unaccredited agents?"

Adams said discussions had been underway for two years but little headway had been made.

"If things don't change soon, we will be seeing an exodus of players on a larger scale than ever experienced before," he said.