Various media reports over the weekend seem to confirm two separate stories that we have been tracking for some time. If both are true, then neither Ruan Pienaar nor John Smit will play for the Sharks again.
Thanks to a tip-off from our friends over at the Front Row Union, we revealed some months ago that Pienaar was rumoured to be in discussions with Ulster Rugby Club, the same team that team mate Johann Muller is on his way to join. The negotiations seemed to have stalled, with money being a major sticking point, but then appeared to get off the ground again recently. A report in a Sunday newspaper, written by none other than the ultra-reliable Mike Greenaway, indicates that the Ulstermen have been successful in pulling off yet another raid and that Pienaar will join them once his Sharks contract expires at the end of the year.
John Smit, on the other hand, despite numerous protestations to the contrary (as well as motherhood-and-apple-pie type statements in his book about how he could never play for anyone other than the Sharks), looks set to swap the black and white for the white and red strip of the Lions. We’ve had information coming through quite regularly over the last few months that Dick Muir has been dangling the carrot of a player-coach role. Smit’s Sharks contract is also up at the end of the 2010 season and while the confirmation of this story seems a little less concrete, certainly the buzz down in Lions country is that they have got their man.
An article in the Beeld this weekend broke the story, but was annoyingly devoid of any details.
Assuming that neither Smit nor Pienaar play any Currie Cup rugby this year, we may well have seen both players in a Sharks jersey for the last time.Tweet