Sale Sharks could become the latest Premiership side to establish an understanding over the use of contracted players in the Rugby Championship.
The Rugby Championship obviously falls under the current World Rugby international window, however rest weekends do not. This effectively means that players contracted to play in Europe could potentially be called back to play for the European club sides during the tournament.
This has typically not been an issue as all four of the Rugby Championship side have had in place both formal and informal selection policies that stipulate that players playing overseas are ineligible for selection unless they meet strict criteria.
However, Australia have introduced Giteau’s Law that allows players over 60 caps to represent the Wallabies even while playing their club rugby abroad, while South Africa have all but ditched their policy a year out from the Rugby World Cup.
This has inevitably brought players representing their country in the Rugby Championship and the contractual requirement to play club rugby thousands of miles away- albeit on rest weekends – into conflict.
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Young, who is currently overseeing Wasps training week in Portugal, told RugbyPass’s Chris Jones:
“You could ask the question; If Willie had been playing in a Wasps team producing rubbish rugby would he have been recalled? There is no doubt that your style of play helped push his case for a Test recall and we are always delighted when one of our players gets international recognition. However, the fact is that when we signed Willie we didn’t expect him to be playing for South Africa, but he goes with our best wishes.
“Willie is likely to miss our first three Premiership matches and we have worked this out through discussions with everyone involved. It is great that he is back in Test rugby and with a change of coach, Willie wanted to be part of it again. Willie will be back for three Premiership games leading into the European matches and he may go back for one more game with South Africa so the maximum games he will miss for Wasps will be four.”
Sale Sharks told Netwerk24 that there was “not an agreement as such” currently in place with the scrumhalf, but they apparently went on to say that “I think all involved parties would have to compromise to make sure everyone is happy.”
What exactly this means it obviously not yet clear, but Sharks will be eager to have their star scrumhalf out on the paddock. Likewise, the Springboks will equally want to field de Klerk, who was arguably the player of their Junes series against England.
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