Welcome back, Sharksworld fans. It’s 2017 and things are slowly starting to pick up momentum here, even though I am personally far from ready to dive right back into the rat race! Anyway, you have to earn your daily bread somehow, I guess.
There have been a couple of relatively interesting developments on the local rugby front over the festive period – fortunately (I think?) not concerning the Sharks. Firstly and completely unsurprisingly, Johann Rupert’s Remgro group appear to have ridden to the rescue of WP Rugby, entering into a partnership deal with the union that will see them take a 50% stake in an all-new commercial entity. Union President Thelo Wakefield, who oversaw the disastrous mess that led to the previous professional arm liquidating it’s way clear of a R75-million debt, continues in his role and perhaps the only silver lining here for fans (apart from a sizeable injection from the R100-billion Rupert family war chest) is that an increased stake should hopefully result in better leverage – and hence governance – by professional business people.
WP Rugby, though, has been “saved”, according to Wakefield’s rather triumphant statement and any concerns regarding a fire sale of player contracts appear to have been unfounded. One player who will not be throwing in his lost with the Cape based Stormers again, though, is former Bok Jaco Taute. After an uninspiring move to Newlands some years back, Taute is re-finding his mojo under Rassie Erasmus at Munster and has just announced an extension of that loan deal. WP may hold his contract for now, but the smart money is on Taute making the move to Thormond Park a permanent one.
Perhaps the strangest story to come out over the last few weeks, though, was the shock “resignation” of another Bok player, utility back Johan Goosen. Goosen, despite earning rave reviews for his play at Racing 92 in Paris over the last season or so, was apparently desperate enough to leave the French club that he decided to retire immediately from the game and return to South Africa to take up a role in the agricultural sector. This despite signing a new contract just last year for the princely sum of around R7M a season to stay in Paris.
Dark rumours regarding potential moves to Toulon and now Gloucester continue to circulate, but you can rest assured that real estate magnet Jacky Lorenzetti and his legal team will find a way to nail Goosen to the wall should he dare to so much as look at a rugby ball while performing his “Commercial Director” role back in the Free State.
Happy New Year! We’ll keep you posted on these and other stories as they develop.Tweet