Johannesburg – The South African Rugby Union (Saru) has revised its capping policy to avoid the anomaly of players becoming Springboks without ever taking the field.
In future only players who make an appearance in a Test match will be given a Springbok number and regarded as full Springboks.
The new policy replaces the historical precedent of awarding the status of being a Springbok to any player who departed on an overseas tour - as well as those who appeared in home Tests.
It was approved by the Executive Council of the South African Rugby Union (SARU) in Cape Town on Thursday.
“The responsibility and honour of representing the Springboks on an overseas tour was a considerable one in the days when the Boks toured only every four years or less frequently and were then overseas for months at a time,” said Saru chief executive Jurie Roux.
“Players deserved their national colours even though some did not appear in a Test match and a very small number, because of injury, became Springboks without ever pulling on the jersey.
“That policy was continued into the professional era where the number of matches and tours has increased dramatically with a similarly increasing number of players who have been given official status as Springboks while never appearing.”
The decision means that the only players to receive a Springbok number, Springbok cap, their name on the honours board at SARU House and the status of Springbok in future will be players to have made a playing appearance (as a starting team member or as any kind of replacement) in an official Test match.
Players who appear in non-Test matches played by the Springboks or who travel overseas with the team will be regarded as “Springbok tour squad members”.
“This change brings the policy in line with the custom and practice of the team itself,” said Roux.
“Players only get to wear the cap and blazer when they have made their Test debut.”
The policy will apply to the recently completed tour but will not be otherwise applied retrospectively.
The Exco also approved the reappointment of Ian McIntosh as a Springbok selector until the end of the 2015 season. It means the committee remains unchanged and comprises Peter Jooste (convenor), McIntosh - the recipient of the IRB's prestigious Vernon Pugh Award recently - and Springbok coach, Heyneke Meyer. – Sapa