SARU confirm Toulon request

August 23, 2013
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The South African Rugby Union on Friday confirmed that they had received a request for star wing Bryan Habana to be released to his French club Toulon next week.

Toulon boss Mourad Boudjellal first raised the issue at a media briefing on Thursday, but admitted that he has heard nothing back from SARU.

Boudjellal wants Habana, whom they are reportedly paying an astronomical €50,000 (about ZAR685,000) per month, to be available for his team’s Top 14 encounter with Grenoble next Saturday, August 31.

He feels that because it is a bye weekend in the Rugby Championship Habana should be made available for his club.

However, SARU will wait until after this coming Saturday’s Round Two fixture between Argentina and South Africa in Mendoza before responding to the request.

“We have received a request from Toulon and are considering it, but won’t confirm any decision until after the Test [in Mendoza],” a SARU spokesman told this website.

Apart from Habana and Du Preez, other players in the Bok squad that are currently attached to teams abroad are Zane Kirchner, Juandré Kruger, Francois Louw, Ruan Pienaar, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Morné Steyn and Jano Vermaak.

Some critics claim the Boudjellal ‘request’ is the first case of what is likely to become a major issue for Meyer as he builds his team ahead of the 2015 World Cup in England.

While South Africa are set to fly to Australia next weekend, for the Brisbane Test on September 7, Habana could instead head to Europe if SARU agrees to the Toulon request.

There has been reports that other French clubs could also lay claim to their Boks for next week – which would mean Steyn (Stade Francais), Kruger (Racing Metro), Steenkamp (Toulouse) and Vermaak (Toulouse) could join Habana in France.

There has been no confirmation of any requests other than that of Habana.

Habana became the highest paid South African player in France when he recently signed with the European champions, Toulon.

It is unclear if Boudjellal wants the flyer released for the second bye weekend, September 21, as well.

If SARU agrees to release Habana, the record-breaking wing would then only join up with his Bok teammates in Brisbane in the week leading up to the Round Three encounter.

By Jan de Koning, Rugby365

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5 Comments

  1. avatar Brendon says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 11:35 am

    janee. kak hits fan

  2. avatar JT_BOKBEFOK! says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 11:47 am

    @Brendon:

    For the club – it is clear in the regulation that the club can not put pressure on the player or union…

  3. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 11:55 am

    @JT_BOKBEFOK!: Jip, the union can be nice to them or tell them to get off

  4. avatar Boertjie says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    NOPE!
    Apparently there is such a clause – allowing the
    club to call upon a player in the week that there
    is no international – in some of the Boks’ contracts.
    SARU will reportedly not allow this next year.
    Question: Does Saru have the clout?

  5. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    @Boertjie: Interesting fact:

    Cross Hemisphere Player Release [Effective June 1, 2012]
    (a) Where the Right to Release for Matches is exercised for Players
    pursuant to the Northern Hemisphere Release Period and such
    Players are contracted to Rugby Bodies or Clubs in the southern
    hemisphere then the exercise of the Right to Release pursuant to this
    Regulation 9 may be exercised for seven weeks out of the seven
    week period.
    (b) Where the Right to Release for Matches is exercised for Players
    pursuant to the Four Nations Release Period and such Players are
    contracted to Rugby Bodies or Clubs in the northern hemisphere
    then the exercise of the Right to Release pursuant to this Regulation
    9 may be exercised for eight weeks out of the eight week period.

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