SARU seek Mujati clearance

Fri, 09 Nov 2012 12:57
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We are expecting an answer in the next two weeks

The South African Rugby Union have formally approached the minister of sport to get clearance for England-based prop Brian Mujati.

Following weeks of media speculation linking the Northampton Saints front row forward, Mujati, to a belated Bok recall, it has finally been confirmed that he is a wanted man.

A spokesman told this website on Friday that: "SARU had contacted the department [of  Sport and Recreation] to confirm Mujati's status."

Ntombi Metsing, the Deputy Director-General Sport & Recreation, confirmed to this website that they had received communication from SARU.

"The [SARU] request is with the minister [of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula]," Metsing said.

"We are expecting an answer in the next two weeks," Metsing said, adding that the minister will not comment before then.

That means Mujati will certainly not feature on South Africa's year-end tour, even if there is a rash of front row injuries.

The 28-year-old Zimbabwean-born player is currently ineligible to play for the Boks, as he does not hold a South African passport or citizenship.

It leaves him in a similar position to what fellow Zimbabwean Tendai Mtawarira - who attended the same Peterhouse boarding school in Marondera, as Mujati - faced a few years ago.

Although Mtawarira was fully eligible to play for South Africa under IRB rules, his Zimbabwean nationality was a sticking point in 2009 and 2010. The South African government blocked the burly prop's selection until 25 June 2010, when Mtawarira was granted South African citizenship.

Mujati, who featured in 12 Tests for the Boks in 2008, in 2009 decided he needed a fresh challenge and signed a contract to play for the Saints.

He has repeatedly been linked to possible Bok selections.

However, his eligibility remained a sticking point and SARU have now approached the department of Sport and Recreation to get clarity on the way forward.

By Jan de Koning