It seems like most of the South African domestic teams are taking to buying players for the 2010 season. We are used to younger players and fringe players regularly moving to the smaller unions, either on loan or permanently. But we have not seen so much “transfer activity” going on between the bigger unions.
So, where did this all start? Juan Martin Hernandez was probably one of the first players, along with Chris Jack to sign for SA teams this year. Not too much of a surprise since the Sharks and WP have contracted foreigners many times in the past. What happened then was, with the impending departure of Jean De Villiers to Munster, Rassie started to open his chequebook. Targeting both Wynand Olivier and Jaque Fourie. Olivier was coming to the end of his contract but I think that it all started with the move for Fourie, a move which is currently in arbritration and I feel that the outcome of that case will have massive implications to how players’ transfers are conducted in the future.
I feel that if Jaque Fourie gets his wish and moves to Cape Town, probably with a bit of money going the Lions’ way, the path to transfer fees and negotiations with players who are not coming off contract will be opened. But that remains to be seen as the Fourie case is still being decided.
Then the shock of transfer happened, Bryan Habana was coming off contract and one had the feeling that the Bulls flyer would either extend his contract or go overseas. Then came Rassie with his chequebook again and Habana ended up signing a contract with his current team’s historic rivals.
This seemed to signal a free-for-all with particularly WP and the Lions seemingly negotiating with any player who may be remotely available, add to this the Bulls’ reported pursuit of the Du Plessis brothers although they did manage to buy a couple of players in Bees Roux and Jacques-Louis Potgieter. The Lions have snapped up Tonderai Chavhanga which probably means the Joburg side’s medical team will have their work cut out for them trying to keep his dodgy hammies intact, they would also be kept busy keeping the 36 year old body of English hardman Simon Shaw intact if he eventually signs. Add to that, the Lions have many other players they are trying to negotiate with.
Rumour has it that the Sharks are also looking at getting another player or two of their own. No more said on that for now.
Where does this leave the other member of the so-called “big 5″ the Cheetahs, it seems they have pulled off a coup possibly almost as big as Habana’s move to WP with the news the Heinrich Brussow has signed an extension to his contract while many of the other teams were in all probability looking to poach him. That pretty much sums up the Cheetah’s dealing in the “transfer market” desperately trying to hang onto their star players.
The silly season looks like it has arrived in South African rugby with player’s agents rubbing their hands together with glee at the prospect of an all-out transfer war.Tweet