We’ve got two separate developments going on in Durban, both of which now require strong and decisive leadership from the Sharks administration. The first involves the ongoing pettiness surrounding the transfers of Willem Alberts and Louis Ludik.
A hell of a lot has been written about the matter to date (and I’m as guilty as anyone else), but the fact is that there is no simple answer and the Lions are not just going to roll over and release the players. Further, the Sharks’ assumption that the law (or in fact, even SARU) would be on their side is not enough in this case and they need to now pro actively look for a solution to the impasse.
Manie Reynecke and his pals have absolutely no interest in getting the matter resolved, since they’ve already resigned themselves to losing the two players. All that they want is to ensure that the Sharks can’t use them and until something is done to force their hand, they’re holding all the cards. Brian van Zyl’s head has been firmly in the sand up to now, but the Sharks supremo will have to take matters into his own hands and force a resolution here. I don’t believe that either party REALLY wants this matter to go to arbitration as that route could lead to a lengthy spell on the sidelines for both Ludik and Alberts.
Here’s a thought, Brian. Why not pick up the phone and call Reynecke? Find out what his beef is and come up with a way to resolve this thing, in the interest of the players’ careers. If the Lions want a transfer fee, then make them an offer. Or if you really want to go to court, then go to court, but whatever you do, sitting back and waiting is no longer an option.
The second issue is the ongoing flyhalf conundrum. I must say, I applaud the decision to lure Steve Meyer back. He’s Durban born and bred, yet has gone on to make a name for himself on a bigger stage. Most importantly, though, he is a long-term investment and in a crucial position like flyhalf, continuity is key. With Meyer and Monty Dumond in the mix, we have enough steady hands to guide the ship and bring through talented youngsters like Guy Cronjé and the exciting Pat Lambie. Chasing yet another foreigner (Glen Jackson is rumoured to be a target) will only extend the problem that has been brewing ever since the Sharks opted to look abroad for a replacement every time Butch James was unavailable.
Of the slew of big names that have come and gone, only Tony Brown and Fred Michalak delivered anything of value on the field, albeit for short periods. Gregor Townsend and the latest disaster, Juan Martin Hernandez, simply wasted opportunities to further develop our own stock. Great flyhalves, I feel, can be either born or made and in the absence of a clear superstar (although Lambie may well be that) the best that we can do show faith in the guys that we have, knowing that they will improve with more regular gametime. It worked for Monty in the Currie Cup, now didn’t it?Tweet