Van Der Merwe, Du Plessis, Steyn … These names from South Africa have flourished so well on the lawns of France in recent seasons that the country of Springboks today represents the largest foreign contingent. Fifty South Africans play in the Top 14. Of the 227 players who do not have French nationality, there are also 42 New Zealanders, 29 Fijians and 22 Australians.
This predominance is explained. The clubs, engaged in an arms race that the salary cap does not seem to stop, are gobbling up in this giant tank, the biggest in terms of top players. "South African rugby players have profiles that we do not meet elsewhere," said Miguel Fernandez, sports agent, co-director of CSM France. They present morphotypes that French teams need: big, powerful players. "
If on their side, the South Africans are pushed to emigrate, it is first of all because of the new policy of the quotas set up by their federation. In this sport historically reserved for whites, the arrival of colored players imposed in the clubs (the goal is to achieve 50% in all the championship teams) pushed the whites to the exodus.
Some end up wearing the blue jersey
As in addition, unlike New Zealanders, their federation allows them to evolve in their national team even if they are expatriates, South Africans seek asylum lands. Why France? "The economic situation is a lot," says Miguel Fernandez. It's better here than there. They feel good and they appreciate the functioning of social security, hospitals, police. "
To the point that some of them like the Racingman Bernard Le Roux or the Castrais Scott Spedding finally take the French nationality and wear the blue jersey. "This dynamic will stop because French clubs are subject to the law of JIFF (Editor's note: players from training courses), picks up the sports agent. Recruitment will soon be more qualitative than quantitative. "
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