The Bulls and South African rugby as a whole look set to be hit by a huge player exodus after the World Cup, as a raft of Springboks have announced moves to Europe or Japan.
This is something that is endemic across all South African rugby, but the Bulls have been hit particularly hard in Tuesday with the announcement that Handre Pollard will be joining Top 14 outfit Montpellier and RG Snyman will be joining Japanese outfit Honda Heat.
Those developments have happened alongside rumours that other stars such as Jesse Kriel are expected to leave.
As it stands, this means that South Africa’s likely four locks at the World Cup will be playing abroad after the tournament. Lood de Jager will be moving to Sale, Eben Etzebeth will move to Toulon in France, Snyman is going to the Far East, and Franco Mostert is already playing for Gloucester.
The loosening of the Springboks caps ruling has meant that players can play elsewhere and still play for their country for the first time. With clubs in France and Japan able to offer more money than both club and country can together in South Africa, it is no surprise that there is this mass exodus.
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However, Bulls supporters have reacted angrily to this news on Twitter, as they fear the three-time Super Rugby champions will no longer be able to compete at the highest level. This is what the fans have said:
so @BlueBullsRugby are losing Handre Pollard, Lood de Jager, RG Snyman, Duane Vermeulen, and @SchalkBrits , & probably @JesseKriel15 and a few more after Super rugby..
Dont beg us to come to Loftus next year please.. No way we can compete in super Rugby anymore..
— Ray (@rayms_84) May 14, 2019
SARugby needs restructuring, this player exodus is killing the local game
— uButternut (@MouzMickey) May 14, 2019
Another one…. yeah ….
— HvW (@hendrivanwyk13) May 14, 2019
How about all S Rugby players just to overseas after the World Cup? ?? https://t.co/KYCvEOJiA6
— Fanele Mbuyazi (@FaneleMbuyazi8) May 14, 2019
Wow the Bulls have lost some unbelievable locking quality for 2020 Super Rugby with Jenkins, De Jager and Snyman all unavailable. No way you can recover from losing 3 top second rowers like that #worryingtimesinPTA
— Graeme Peacock (@graemepeacock05) May 14, 2019
The Handre Pollard leaving is bigger news.
As a nation we need help. We are fucked. Maybe we are dead.
— Rágnár Ván Töndérsön (@Slipcatch) May 14, 2019
BULLS contracting model was upto Sh?t how do YOU get it right to sign your 3 Best Locks to end their Contracts at the same time ?? Morné Steyn signing will NOT have a BIG IMPACT at LOFTUS with JESSIE KRIEL then RG SNYMAN, JASON JENKINS & LOOD DE JAGER leaving @BlueBullsRugby
— @Borchie (@Borchie_09129) May 14, 2019
How can South African teams be any good again if we keep losing players to Europe. Something needs to be done surely
— Stefan Edge (@_ClickClickBoom) May 14, 2019
While former Springboks Morne Steyn will return to the Bulls, this will not please many fans, as they would clearly want to keep hold of a player in his prime like Pollard rather than a 34-year-old. However, the South African clubs seem fairly powerless in this and the exchange rate does not currently help them.
The Bulls are not the only side that are suffering, though, as every club looks set to lose a raft of players at the end of the year. Snyman and Pollard are not the first and will not be the last players to move abroad.
WATCH: Jim Hamilton’s Rugby Explorer documentary on South Africa
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