SA's Transfer mayhem: Ins and outs
SPOTLIGHT: With the SA Rugby’s 21 days clause a thing of the past. Here is a look at all the confirmed contract agreements.
When SA Rugby first announced their ‘survival plan’ in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus-enforced lockdown, one already knew it is going to be a huge challenge for South African teams to hold onto to their world-class players.
SA Rugby’s survival plan included paycuts of up to 43 percent for high earning players like Springboks. Players were given until Thursday, 14 May at midnight to cancel their current contracts under the plan.
At the conclusion of the 21 days, it seems like the Lions have been hit hardest with four players including Springbok Malcolm Marx opting to tear up their contracts.
Fellow Springbok Elton Janjties has opted to stay at the Lions despite, according to reports, an offer from Top14 side, Agen.
The Sharks have managed to survive the crazy transfer period with minor scares. The Durban side, who has been in fine form prior to lockdown, retained the services of their World Cup-winning Springboks Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am despite the raids from cash-flush Japanese clubs.
Mapimpi turned down a staggering multi-million dollar offer from Japanese club Red Hurricanes.
While fellow World Cup-winner and front row forward Thomas du Toit, fullback Aphelele Fassi, utility forward Juan van der Mescht and utility back Curwin Bosch were also targets of the foreign raids.
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The Stormers certainly had the biggest worry with World Rugby player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit was reportedly linked to several overseas clubs, including Montpellier.
According to the rumour mill, The Top14 club offered Du Toit ZAR2 million a month in a three-year deal that would have seen him pocket ZAR75 million. The deal would have made him the highest-paid player in the world.
However, cash-rich Top14 side denied that ‘any contractual offer has been made to Du Toit,’
Stormers coach John Dobson has also been very adamant that Du Toit will stay put, and that is indeed true.
However, the World Rugby player of the year made a huge U-turn on deadline day as he cancelled his contract with the Stormers. The some-what good news for Stormers is that Du Toit and/or his representatives are in negotiations with the WPRFU and are NOT in negotiations with anybody outside Cape Town.
Flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis also opted to cancel his contract and is rumoured to join a Japanese Top League side.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Bulls have been just as busy – landing some big names in their pursuit to return to winning ways.
After losing the likes of Handre Pollard, Jesse Kriel and Lodewyk de Jager following the World Cup, the COVID-19 break has come as a blessing in disguise for the Pretoria side.
With Jake White as the new director of Rugby, the franchise has managed to sign Marcel van der Merwe, Gio Aplon and Arno Botha.
Meanwhile, the Bulls have confirmed that Manie Libbok has been ‘released as per his request’ however the utility back has yet to confirm his new side. Thus far, various media outlets have linked Libbok with the Sharks.
List of the South African transfers
Marcel van der Merwe (Toulon)
Gio Aplon (Verblitz)
Arno Botha (Munster)
Johnny Kotze (Blue Sharks)
Dylan Sage (TBC)
Manie Libbok (TBC)
Jeandre Rudolph (Pumas)
Frans Steyn (Montpellier)
Marcell Muller (Montpellier)
George Cronje (Clermont)
Howard Mnisi (Southern Kings)
Ian Groenewald (Griquas)
Joseph Dweba (Bordeaux)
Jasper Wiese (TBC)
Howard Mnisi (Cheetahs)
Malcolm Marx (TBC)
Tyrone Green (TBC)
Ruan Vermaak (TBC)
Shaun Reynolds (Uson Nevers, French ProD2)
Tyler Paul (Japan)
Cobus Wiese (Sale Sharks)
Dillyn Leyds (La Rochelle)
Wilco Louw (Harlequins)
Jean-Luc Du Plessis (TBC)
*Pieter-Steph du Toit ( Terminated current contract)
Compiled by Leezil Hendricks