The bulk of the Sharks Super 14 squad were back on the training paddock yesterday and there were a few surprises in store, although most of them were, to be honest, expected.
The fact that Louis Ludik and Willem Alberts are in Durban probably has to come under the “worst-kept secret of 2009″ heading, but both players were indeed officially a part of yesterday’s session; or rather, as officially as they could be, considering that, legally at least, they are still Lions players. There’s still going to be a legal wrangle over this one, you can be sure. At least, hopefully, possession will indeed prove to be 9/10ths of the law in this case. Gerhard Mostert, the big lock from Lions country, was also present and he, at least, has been released by the Joburg union.
A familiar face that was missing was that of the most-capped Shark ever, Albert van den Berg. After ten years of loyal service, Big Bert has finally been put out to pasture by the Sharks. Rumour has it, he’s looking to play out his golden years in Japan. Cheers, Bert. You’ll be missed, old man.
There was a lot of talk about a player swap between the Sharks and the Cheetahs – with Monty Dumond moving to Bloem and promising openside flank Johan Wessels coming the other way. I’ve spoken to both players in the past few days and certainly, in the case of Wessels, the move is not on – at least not for this Super 14. Apparently there were some discussions, but the parties couldn’t reach an agreement and I would imagine that guarantees about game time may wall have been the sticking point. Wessels and his mentor, Hein Brüssow both come off contract with Free State at the end of 2010, though and apparently one of them is virtually certain of making the move to Durban at that point.
When it comes to Monty Dumond, though, the situation is less clear-cut. The player himself is still dead keen to move, as Naka Drotske has promised him the starting flyhalf jersey there. The Sharks are holding out, though – apparently until they can have a discussion with Ruan Pienaar and find out what he wants from life. Dumond will not be released to Free State if it will leave the Sharks short of quality options at flyhalf and a new factor that has been reported this morning is that Juan Hernandez is apparently struggling with a back injury. All-in-all, not looking great for Monty at this stage, but we’ll keep you posted.
Another rumoured development is the signing of Maties centre Jean Stemmet. The 23-year-old has represented Western Province at virtually every age-group level and was one of the top try scorers in the Varsity Cup competition this year. He should apparently be linking up with the Sharks squad next week.Tweet