Sharks fight off Japanese raids on the Tank
TRANSFER NEWS: The Sharks have, for the most part, managed to hold off the raids from cash-flush Japanese clubs.
By the time the deadline for players to tear up their contracts arrived at midnight on Thursday, May 14, only one player had given notice.
Utility forward Tyler Paul, through his agent, alerted the Sharks just hours before the final gong that he is heading to Japan.
“I thought we came through [the 21-day period] unscathed,” Sharks Chief Executive Officer Eduard Coetzee told @rugby365com.
However, the late call from the agent realised their worst fears at the end of what was a “rough few weeks” for officials in Durban.
On the flip side is the news that their World Cup-winning Springboks – like Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am – have opted to remain in Durban.
Coetzee confirmed to this website that Mapimpi turned down a staggering multi-million dollar offer from Japanese club Red Hurricanes – an outfit that has managed to lure former Lions and Gloucester coach Johan Ackermann to Osaka, Japan, in a massive raid on South African resources.
Although Coetzee could not confirm the exact amount of the offer, some reports have put it at ZAR14-million.
He added that it he also had some intense discussions with Am and several other players in the last few weeks.
“There has been lots of interest in our players,” Coetzee told @rugby365com.
“I spoke to him [Am] a lot,” he said, adding: “He is our captain and there are plenty of opportunities in South Africa.”
He said he talked to the players about issues surrounding the culture and the long-term plans of the Sharks.
However, according to the terms of the 21-day clause – struck between SA Rugby, the players union MyPlayers, the South African Rugby Employers’ Organisation and the staff union Sports Employees’ Unite – they were not allowed to speak about financial issues or make counteroffers.
“We spoke about our [the Sharks’] goals and the stability we have here,” Coetzee said, adding that transparency was the key in those discussions.
Fellow World Cup-winner and front row forward Thomas du Toit was also a target of the foreign raids.
Other players targeted include fullback Aphelele Fassi, utility forward Juan van der Mescht and utility back Curwin Bosch.
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