SARU has confirmed the names of 10 Springboks – including four DHL Western Province stars – who were awarded long-term national contracts in August this year, which will see them all remain in South Africa until the end of 2015.
The 10 Springboks awarded long-term contracts are Willem Alberts (loose forward), Jean de Villiers (centre), Bismarck du Plessis (hooker), Jannie du Plessis (prop), Eben Etzebeth (lock), Siya Kolisi (loose forward), Tendai Mtawarira (prop), Frans Steyn (utility back), Adriaan Strauss (hooker) and Duane Vermeulen (No.8).
DHL WP and DHL Stormers stars De Villiers, Etzebeth, Kolisi and Vermeulen are all currently on tour with the Springboks, the four having played in Saturday's tour-opener against Wales (won 24-15 by the Men in Green & Gold).
Fellow WP/Stormers players, prop Frans Malherbe, hooker Scarra Ntubeni, scrumhalf Louis Schreuder and wing/fullback Gio Aplon are also part of the 32-man Bok tour group, with Malherbe having made his Test debut in Cardiff.
SARU CEO Jurie Roux said this was the first step in ensuring a core of top players remain in South Africa, and that the process of contracting more players for 2014 and 2015 is already in place and will be completed in agreement with the South African Rugby Players Association (SARPA).
“This is all part of our long-term planning to ensure we retain key Springboks in South Africa as we prepare for the Rugby World Cup in England in 2015,” said Roux. “The door is by no means shut for any other players to be awarded national contracts for the next two seasons.
“To us, it's important to do what is best for the Springboks and South African rugby. We are doing everything in our power to keep players in South Africa and reward them accordingly. The players, through SARPA, are fully part of the process to ensure the best possible workable model of remuneration.
“Obviously we have some limitations. We're working with the provincial unions, but times are tough financially and in some instances we simply can't compete with what players are offered to play abroad. We're also not in a position to contract 40 to 50 top players, although it would be ideal if we could do that.”