Ambitious Boland are set to bolster the Stormers’ depth dramatically for 2010 with deals in the pipeline for Argentine prop Eusebio Guinazu, All Black centre Pita Alatini and Wallaby lock Justin Harrison.
Stephen Nell, Sports24.
Boland president Francois Davids did not want to comment on Monday, but the agent negotiating Guinazu and Alatini’s contracts confirmed Sport24’s queries.
“There is an offer from Boland for Guinazu and the chances are good that he will accept,” said the agent, Jason Smith.
“I am also working on Alatini’s contract. He is coming to South Africa with his wife.”
There were reports during the Currie Cup that Alatini was seeking a move to the Cape. His wife, Megan, is believed to be the cousin of a committee member at a Cape rugby club.
However Western Province are apparently not that keen on 33-year-old Alatini. He is in the twilight of his career and last played Test rugby for New Zealand in 2001.
Subsequently he has played for Japanese sides Kamaishi Seawaves and Suntory Sungoliath.
Guinazu, 27, may be a prospect that excites Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus. He has played 15 Tests for Argentina and represented them at the World Cup in 2007.
His best position is tighthead prop, but he can also play hooker and loosehead.
The WP front row of Wicus Blaauw, Tiaan Liebenberg and Brock Harris performed with distinction in the Currie Cup, but depth is always an issue in the Super14.
Guinazu may be a valuable acquisition for the region in that regard.
“It’s Boland’s initiative. We have a good relationship with them and their signings will boost rugby in the Western Cape,” said WP Rugby (Pty) Ltd chairperson Pat Kuhn.
Boland are currently fighting for survival in the Premier League of the Currie Cup. However, Smith does not believe than plan to bring Guinazu and Alatini to Boland will necessarily hit the skids if the Cavaliers lose to the Pumas in Witbank on Friday.
A source close to Sport24 confirmed that Harrison is also on Boland’s shopping list.
At his best he was a fiery lock for Australia, but he has also made headlines for the wrong reasons.
He is currently serving a suspension for the use of cocaine.
This ban ends on January 13 next year and he will therefore be available for the start of the Super 14 if the Cavaliers sign him.
It’s an open question whether the Stormers will need the services of a 35-year-old Harrison.
Anton van Zyl and Andries Bekker are bound to be Erasmus’s first-choice lock pairing, while young players such as George Earle, De Kock Steenkamp and Martin Muller are progressing through the ranks.
Adriaan Fondse is still recovering from a serious knee injury and rumours have it that he may miss the early matches of the Super 14.
Nevertheless, he will be a controversial signing.
Apart from the drugs issue, he was involved in a race row in 2005 while playing for the Waratahs against the Cats in Johannesburg. It was for a racial slur directed at Chumani Booi. Booi and his erstwhile team-mate Conrad Jantjes objected and suspected Wallaby centre Nathan Grey.
However, Harrison admitted to the slur and apologised. While Booi accepted his apology, Harrison was suspended for three matches.
At his best Harrison certainly was a fine player. He is remembered for his brilliant performance for the Wallabies in their third Test against the British and Irish Lions in 2001.
English wing Austin Healey insulted him in a newspaper column before the game. Harrison went on to win a crucial lineout turnover in the dying stages to help secure the series for the Wallabies.Tweet