SA Rugby confirmed on Thursday that it had released the six contracted Springboks from among the nine South African players named to appear for the Barbarians against Australia at Wembley next month.
Andy Marinos, the acting managing director of SA Rugby, made the announcement after discussions with Springbok coach Peter de Villiers and team captain John Smit and having received the necessary paperwork from the Barbarians.
“SA Rugby’s concerns centred on the disregard of procedure in dealing with the provincial unions and SA Rugby and in respect of the insurance arrangements,” said Marinos.
“Of the nominated players Fourie du Preez, Gurthro Steenkamp and Nick Koster do not have contracts with SA Rugby and permission to play needed to be granted by their unions and coaches.
“The other six players – John Smit, Jean de Villiers, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger, Percy Montgomery and Bryan Habana – needed release from the national coach, SA Rugby and their respective provinces. I met Barbarians committee member, Mike Burton, on Wednesday afternoon and was given the necessary documentation.
“Since then I have had discussions with the three provinces, informing them that we have the required paperwork in place and I have consulted with Peter de Villiers and John Smit on this matter and we are now happy to release the players to play in this match.
“We understand the significance for a player in appearing in an International for the Barbarians but, at the same time, we have to ensure that any decision in this regard is in the best interests of the player, the unions and the Springboks.
“I will be communicating with all Springbok players shortly to inform them of the position to ensure that in the future all parties are consulted in this process.”