CAPE TOWN – A host of Springbok stars are expected to head abroad following coach Rassie Erasmus' squad selections for the recent Wales Test and upcoming England test series.
Fullback Andries Coetzee and Raymond Rhule were not selected in the latest squads and weekend reports say they are among the players heading abroad soon.
The much-publicised player drain looks likely to gain momentum with the anticipation of a number of exits with the likes of Elton Jantjies, Coetzee, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Lionel Mapoe all set to cash in their national chips in favour of the Euro or the Japanese yen and a stint abroad.
Coetzee was left out of Erasmus current squad and is likely to snub Sale Sharks in favour of Toulon after the French newspaper Midi Olympique speculated he will pen a three-year contract.
Mapoe has failed to agree to new terms at the Ellis Park franchise and is likely to quit Super Rugby along with Jantjies, who did duty for Erasmus against Wales this weekend but isn't expected to offer much competition for Handre Pollard's long-term stay in the No 10 jersey.
News of the quartet's proposed departures comes on the back of the confirmation that Gloucester have snapped up Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert and Ruan Dreyer in a massive blow for the Lions' long-term Super Rugby aspirations.
It is not only the Lions that have staffing issues following Monday's bombshell that Rhule, another capped Springbok not called upon by Erasmus for immediate duty, will be allowed to end his Stormers stay early and take up a deal at French Top 14 side Grenoble.
Rhule's exit follows that of teammate JC Janse van Rensburg, who is returning to France in July.
With Erasmus still pondering what went wrong against Wales, he now also faces an ever-decreasing number of options outside of his trusted few as the lure of Euro continues to trump the unknown prospect of future national team action.
African News Agency (ANA)