Brian van Zyl has gone on record saying that the Sharks will play Lions duo Louis Ludik and Willem Alberts in the upcoming friendly series against the Stormers and the Western Force, notwithstanding the fact that the Lions have yet to release the players.
The two have been the subject of a long-running contractual battle, with plenty of inane statements made in the press by the Lions administration, despite the players not having legally-binding contracts with the Johannesburg union. Both players moved to Durban in the off-season and have been training with the Sharks ever since. More pertinently, it’s the Sharks who are currently paying their salaries.
The Lions have, however, repeatedly refused all reasonable requests to issue release certificates for the pair and the situation is now completely farcical. Van Zyl insists that both the upcoming friendly series and the Super 14 are competition that do not fall under the sole jurisdiction of SARU. In this case, the release certificates, which are a SARU requirement, are not necessary and there is nothing to stop Alberts and Ludik playing for the Sharks in those competitions.
We await the Lions’ counter-argument with baited breath.
Update: An article on Rugby365 now suggests that SARU legal man Christo Ferreira has refused to intervene in the dispute, telling the Sharks and Lions to sort it out between themselves. He, however, points out that van Zyl is not correct in his assumption that the pair can play in the Super 14 (or pre-season friendlies) without SARU clearance.
Looks like this one’s going to arbitration.Tweet