Even if only half of the current rumours are true, the Sharks may soon find themselves having more backline players than they know what to do with. Having faced deserved criticism for failing to protect the depth in this area over the last few years, Rudi Straeuli and the Sharks administration seem to be going somewhat overboard in an audacious attempt to sign every backline player they can find!
Closest to being confirmed are the rumoured approaches to Andre Pretorius and Lionel Mapoe. The former will play for the Sharks this Currie Cup, assuming he comes through a series of gruelling fitness tests first. As for the Free State winger, though, it looks like things are going to get ugly, with yet another round of tut-tutting and finger-pointing set to ensue as the Sharks and Cheetahs enter into a legal spat over his services. One would think that, if anything, the Sharks would have learned from the Alberts/Ludik affair that these things seldom just blow over without a fight, but they seem hell-bent on pressing on regardless and we have it on good authority that the player is already in Durban and training with his new team-mates.
While I would love to see Mapoe add depth to the Sharks squad at wing and possibly also outside centre, I must say that this one is currently leaving a bit of a bad taste in the mouth as, according to everything I’ve seen, he is, in fact, legally contracted to another union. As always, we’ll need to bide our time here, sift through various baffling and usually embarrassing statements coming out of both unions, the player, his agent and the completely extraneous and useless organisation called SARPA and ultimately wait and see what the courts decide to do with this one.
The other big name that refuses to go away is that of Jean de Villiers and depending on who you speak to, he has either already signed for WP, or the Sharks, or the Lions… since not one of these teams has actually gone as far as announcing the signing (and why wouldn’t they want to crow about such a coup?) I’m going to assume that the Bok centre has yet to decide which paper to put pen to. The Sharks would, though, appear to be very much in the running and the fact that de Villiers hasn’t already signed for WP, despite a pretty clear overture a few months ago, makes me think that he may well be headed elsewhere.
Another one that has resurfaced today, thanks to a frankly astonishing set of articles on Keo, is the continued talk that the Ebersohn brothers want to move to Durban. This has been doing the rounds for a while and although our favourite website initially couldn’t work out which of the two brothers was meant to be talking to the Sharks, they seem to have now settled on it being both of them. The twins are out of contract at the end of the year and apparently have offers to join the Sharks ahead of the 2011 season. Based on the noises that are being made, I’d say this one has a pretty good chance of actually going ahead.
Other Cheetahs players to be linked to the Sharks, although in most cases far more spuriously, include centre-cum-flyhalf Meyer Bosman and either one or both of their pair of openside flankers, Heinrich Brussow and Johan Wessels.Tweet