Rugby administrators of the Stormers and the Lions are still involved in a tug of war over the services of former Zimbabwean tighthead prop Brian Mujati.
Frikkie Erasmus, commercial manager of the Stormers, confirmed on Tuesday that an appeal would be heard in Cape Town next Monday against a recent ruling that Mujati’s contract with the Lions was invalid.
“The hearing will be held before Justice Pat Tebbutt at the offices of SA Rugby,” Erasmus said.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that the SA Rugby Union ruled in February that Mujati, who had been lured to Cape Town last year, did not have a valid contract with the Lions at that stage.
The Lions insisted that their contact with the front-row forward was valid. They argued that Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus and players’ agent Jason Smith had negotiated with Mujati while he was still contracted to the Lions.
After the Lions’ objections had been dismissed, SA Rugby’s manager of legal affairs, Christo Ferreira, said Mujati was free to play for the Stormers.
The appeal hearing on Monday may not be the end of the matter.
“The Lions maintain Brian is playing for us unlawfully because he has not been released from his contract,” Erasmus said.
Lack depth in the front row
Mujati has been in outstanding form in the Super 14 competition and he could come into contention for the Springbok team soon.
The Stormers again scrummed well when they beat the Western Force 32-16 in Perth last week and Mujati has become one of the key players in this department.
His availability is of extreme importance to the Stormers who lack depth on both sides of the front row.
If anything prevents Mujati from playing, Brock Harris will start on the tighthead side.
The situation at loosehead is even more worrying, because Mujati or Harris will have to play there if JD Moller is unavailable.
* SA Rugby meanwhile announced on Tuesday that the competitions commission had decided to take no action in connection with the controlling body’s handling of the Southern Spears issue.
Tony McKeever, former chief executive of the Spears, had earlier laid a complaint against SA Rugby. He also made allegations of financial irregularities.
SA Rugby ordered an investigation into the allegations and no irregularities were revealed.
The competitions commission also decided not to act against SA Rugby after an investigation into McKeever’s complaints.Tweet