It seems the Stormers and the Sharks will have to wait a few weeks longer than originally expected for their signings from the Japanese Wild Knights
With the Sanyo Wild Knights ending the Japanese Top League season undefeated after a 34 – 7 victory over the NEC Green Rocket on Saturday, they have ensured that they are the favourites to go all the way in the Microsoft Cup Play-Off tournament as well.
The Stormers and the Sharks announced the signings of Tony Brown and Epi Taione, respectively earlier this season. Both players are currently members of the victorious Sanyo Wild Knights and are expected to do duty in the play-offs.
Both Super 14 franchises would have hoped to have their players arrive sooner rather than later.
Rassie Erasmus is in the midst of a flyhalf dilemma and seeing the Wild Knight go all the way would not really be something that he would be wishing for.
While the Sharks may not be in dire straits, one feels that an injury or two will suddenly make the absence of Taione a much bigger issue than it currently is. Dick Muir has made it clear that he will be using Taione at flank, one of the areas where there may be some concern over the depth available to the Sharks.
The Microsoft Cup Semi Finals will be played on Sunday 17 February with the winners going through to play the Finals on Sunday 24 February. Should the Sanyo Wild Knights Make it to the final they will not be available to their South African teams until Round 3 of the Super14.
With the Stormers playing on the Friday night already in round three, getting Brown ready for round three will be a very difficult task.
Sanyo Wild Knights (1st) vs Toshiba Brave Lupus (4th) at Chichibunomiya
Suntory Sungoliath (2nd) vs Toyota Verblitz (3rd) at Hanazono