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Sharks seal deal with Pumas and Border

NEWS: The Sharks confirmed that they have formed a new strategic partnership with fellow South African rugby unions Border and the Pumas.


The new partnership deal with the Border Rugby Union will see the Sharks provide some financial stability, sound governance, support for the running of club and school rugby, and the exchange of players.

While the deal with Pumas will also include player exchange between the two franchises, it will focus more on the Nelspruit Union’s commercial side.

The deal is a huge boost for Border as they have been struggling with a financial crisis since 2013 that saw them under SA Rugby’s administration until 2022.

Border was suspended from membership in October 2018 because of ongoing administration issues.

Fronting the media in Durban on Friday, Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee confirmed the new partnership deals.

Coetzee asserted that Sharks are not the new equity partner of Border.


However, he emphasised the deal will benefit both sides and aims to empower rugby in this talent-rich region of the Eastern Cape once again.

The Sharks tried to strike a similar partnership deal with Border in 2022 but were denied.

However, after newly-elected Border president Zuko Badli took over, the deal was revisited and approved.

“It is a proud moment for me as we build on a heritage that’s been founded during Super Rugby days when the coastal Sharks comprised of the Natal Sharks, Border and Eastern Province,” Coetzee said.


“The troubles that the Border union has faced have been well-documented in the last number of years. We are just delighted that the new leadership of Zuko [Badli] and his elected leadership have got a vision that we can now officially and formally partner.

“So today [Friday], we would like to officially announce the formal partnership that we have agreed contractually with the Border Rugby Union and the Sharks.

“We went forward and back a lot on this, and I think the easiest way in our day could be to say, ‘We want to buy 51 percent of the company, give us control,’ and it wasn’t like that.

“We started from the point of collaboration from the get-go, and I think what that means, Border is currently coming out of administration and has a real willingness to build this cradle of rugby in South Africa from the grassroots.

“We want to partner at every single level with Border and this is what this agreement entitles us to do, to start with grassroots rugby, club rugby, the commercial side, re-establishing the company, financial controls, and all the regulatory functions that a professional rugby side will need.”

Coetzee said the partnership with the Pumas is very different and more commercialise driven.

“[Regarding the Pumas Rugby Union] that partnership would be more from a commercial and a partnership point of view,” Coetzee said.

“We will share commercial inventory in terms of sponsorship, instead of advertising for commercial sponsors.

“We will also have player exchanges throughout the squads, obviously not in overlapping tournaments, so when it comes to Currie Cup it would be a different arrangement.”

The Sharks have momentum off the field and the side would be eager to transfer that on the field when they meet the Stormers in the United Rugby Championship Round 10 clash on Saturday.

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