VIDEO: Stormers in the dark about Bok's departure
REACTION: The gloves will come off in the wake of revelations that seasoned Springbok Eben Etzebeth has been courted by French club Toulon.
Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal on Thursday revealed that he has signed All Black wing Nehe Milner-Skudder and the Bok lock, Etzebeth.
According to reports from RMC Sports and Midi Olympique, the pair of 27-year-olds will link up with Toulon for the 2019 Top 14 season, with Milner-Skudder joining on a three-year deal and Etzebeth signing on for two years.
This announcement caught Stormers officials off guard.
Paul Zacks, the Chief Executive Officer of the Western Province Rugby Football Union and WP Rugby (Pty) Limited, admitted that they are not happy with the conduct of the French club.
Speaking to media at Newlands on Friday, Zacks said they would be writing a letter to the South African Rugby Union to ask for assistance in dealing with the matter.
“[It is] the first we hear about it,” Zacks told the media briefing.
“I just asked the Director of Rugby [Gert Smal] and he was uninformed. I assume the coach is likewise [uninformed].”
Zacks revealed that he had communicated with Rudolf Straeuli, the Chairman of SAREO (a forum on which all 14 the unions’ Chief Executive Officers sit), who found himself in a similar situation with the departure of Bok lock Franco Mostert to Gloucester.
At the heart of the two South African officials’ unhappiness is the fact that European clubs start negotiations outside of the allowed timeframe – in breach of World Rugby regulations.
“Obviously he [Straeuli] had his own issue with Franco [Mostert and Gloucester],” Zacks said.
“We are going to be writing a letter to SA Rugby, because at the end of the day it’s a tripartite agreement. SA Rugby, Western Province and the player are parties to that contract.
“The fact is that there are contractual commitments in place with the individuals.”
Zacks appeared to shift blame to the French club.
“I’m not sure it’s the player’s fault, to be honest,” he said.
“The disappointing part is the communication and how it is relayed through the various parties to a contract.
“The disappointing part is that protocol wasn’t followed.
“In terms of the Springboks and a lot of the players going forward, I think we all know that there is always a lot of movement of players post a World Cup to greener pastures, so to speak.
“That is not unexpected.
“I think it’s just the way we manage the communication is key and following protocol.
“[It is] having respect for the parties to a contract.
“Maybe the French are a law unto themselves.”
Zacks said WP Rugby Director of Rugby Gert Smal will be talking to the player to get clarity.
By Jan de Koning, at Newlands
Here they are, the all-new BLK DHL Stormers 2019 home and away jerseys. Get yours now.
Posted by Stormers on Friday, 14 December 2018