Springbok hooker Schalk Brits has presented a possible solution to end the player drain of South African talent heading to offshore clubs.
The 37-year-old – who returns to South Africa this season after a nine-year stint in England – believes that relaxing taxes on the country’s top players may aid retention.
“We will never be able to compete with the overseas contracts. But maybe there is a legitimate way to give tax relief to our players,” Brits said in an interview with Netwerk24.
“We no longer have mentors in our rugby, and it is a pity that so many of our players are playing overseas.
“There are no more players in the middle level – you get the Springboks and then the young players who are taking their first steps in Super Rugby. The men who have to transfer the intellectual capital are overseas.”
Players leaving South Africa in favour of lucrative deals in Japan and Europe has had an effect on South African rugby, with star lock Eben Etzebeth the latest to be linked with a big money move. Reports from last year suggest the imposing 27-year-old will join Top 14 club Toulon after this year’s World Cup, while Springbok centre Jesse Kriel has been linked with a move to the English Premiership.
Current Bok standouts plying their trade in the Premiership include Sale’s Faf de Klerk, Saracens’ Vincent Koch, Bath’s Francois Louw and Wasps’ Willie le Roux.
Brits began his career in South Africa in 2002 with Western Province, and made his Super Rugby debut with the Cats in 2005 before joining the Stormers. He shifted north in 2009, where he has played until now, aside from a brief 2011 stint back in South Africa.
He has played 11 tests for South Africa after making his test debut in 2008. He appeared for the Springboks in June 2018, three years after his last appearance for the side at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
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