England will face an under-strength South Africa next month after Premiership Rugby reiterated its policy not to release English-based Springboks for the match.
It means the Boks will be without stars including Sale scrum-half Faf de Klerk and Wasps full-back Willie le Roux.
The match on 3 November at Twickenham takes place outside World Rugby’s international window.
World Rugby rules say clubs do not have to release players outside the window.
A spokesman for Premiership Rugby – the umbrella body for the top English clubs – told the BBC its policy “is only to release players under World Rugby Regulation 9“.
Bath back-row forward Francois Louw, Gloucester lock Franco Mostert and Saracens prop Vincent Koch will also be unavailable to Springbok boss Rassie Erasmus.
All five players featured in last weekend’s thrilling 32-30 defeat by New Zealand, a game that confirmed South Africa’s re-emergence as a rugby superpower following the victory over the All Blacks in Wellington three weeks earlier.
Springbok great Bryan Habana, a World Cup winner in 2007, told the Rugby Union Weekly podcast that South Africa are well placed to compete in Japan next year.
“I will never forget in 2006 we lost 49-0 against Australia in Brisbane, and a year later we won the World Cup,” Habana said.
“I think this side is in a better position than what we were in 2007. Long may this successful progress continue.”
Wales will also be without a host of English-based players when they face Scotland on the same day in November.
Northampton and Bath have previously both been fined by Premiership Rugby for releasing George North and Taulupe Faletau respectively outside the Test window.
However, the body says it is unaware of any clubs planning to contravene the policy this autumn.
Source BBC News