Mike Greenaway reports that Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira will continue to hold up the loosehead side of the Sharks scrum, after the Sharks managed to scupper an attempt by the Lions (backed by their deep-pocketed sponsors) to spirit away the popular prop.
While details around exactly how much was offered, and what the Beast’s actual attitude in all this was remains sketchy, there is no doubt that he signed a 3-year contract with the Sharks late last year, and that only thereafter did the Lions approach him, offering him an amount far in excess of anything that the Sharks are currently paying their players.
That the Beast has stayed despite this, says a lot about the good contracting practises of the Sharks, the value they place on the Beast (now upped to the same contract level as Springbok captain John Smit), and perhaps the strong underlying relationship between Beast and the Sharks, that made a court battle unnecessary.
On the other hand (and while the Sharks are certainly no angels when it comes to respecting other team’s player contracts) it does indicate questionable ethics on the part of the Lions, who not only previously secured Pat Cilliers as loosehead (presumably promising him game time that would have been rare had Beast signed), but were also willing to ignore the fact that the player had a signed contract.
It does also indicate that the Sharks contracting and recruitment teams must be doing something right, as they have now held onto John Smit, JP Pietersen, Ryan Kankowski and Beast despite money offers far in excess of what the Sharks could pay. The Lions seems determined to repay previous poaching by the Sharks (AJ Venter, Willem Alberts and Louis Ludik being some recent big names snapped up by the Sharks) and one does begin to wonder if perhaps the Lions are sacrificing good business sense in the desire for revenge.
Whatever the case may be, we can all celebrate being able to hold onto one of the best props in world rugby, and still being able to shout “BEEEEEAAAASSSSTTTT” to our heart’s content!Tweet