Ten Springboks on cards for London SA club

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The Independent Online

Up to 10 current Springboks are "excited at the prospect of playing club rugby in England", as a second foreign consortium press ahead with efforts to break into the domestic market.

There has already been discussion regarding the intentions of the millionaire-backed London Tribe, and now London South Africa have revealed their business plan. Jason Smith, a leading players' agent based in Cape Town, is fronting London South Africa, who are looking to buy a "National League One or Two" club, relocate to the capital and win through to the Premiership.

"Our company represent 10 of the current Springboks, among them Victor Matfield, A J Venter, Werner Greeff, Danie Coetzee and Richard Bands," said Smith. "I have spoken to a few of them and they are excited by the prospect. Once London South Africa gets going, we'll put a world-class team on the park."

London Tribe, the other consortium, have recruited former Bok captain Bob Skinstad as spokesman, and include multi-millionaire Johann Rupert. Last week they were linked with Orrell, though sources say Rotherham is the fresh target. However, London South Africa have entered the frame with similar intentions.

"The southern powers used to chuckle at the state of domestic rugby in England. Not any more," said Smith. "The key people in England all recognise that rugby is a business, and I don't believe for one moment that the likes of Francis Baron, Fran Cotton and Premiership shareholders are not going to be excited by the prospect of investment in their domestic game."

Smith is hoping that London South Africa, who are seeking an £8m investment for the first three years, will be up and running by June next year. "If not then, 2006 or 2007. We are creating a brand that will appeal to the 500,000 expat South Africans in London, and that will put 15,000 bums on seats every week."

Those might well be seated at Loftus Road, with both consortiums having spoken to the plc. West London is a hotbed of South Africans, and Smith believes their passion for rugby will help make the brand a success.