The Bulls and South African rugby as a whole look set to be hit by a huge player exodus after the World Cup, with a spate 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 this week with the announcement that Handré Pollard will be joining Top 14 outfit Montpellier and RG Snyman will be joining Japanese outfit Honda Heat, to go alongside other stars such as Jesse Kriel that are expected to leave.
This means, as it stands, 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 along with Snyman, 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 fans 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:
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 Morné 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, 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.
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