Time for Dolf to step up

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Lions, Original Content, Sharks on 30 Aug 2010 at 13:48
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

They say a fool and his money are soon parted, but this time around, the Clown from the Goldtown seems to have a very deep wallet – and what’s more, it’s OUR STUFF he’s after.

The Sharks have been through a lean year or two and recent failures on the field – particularly losing out on hosting the 2009 Currie Cup final – are understood to have hit the union in the pocket. Commercial Director Rudi Straeuli is the guy holding the purse strings, of course and it has come down to him to ensure that the books balance – something he has done very well over the years. There is a fair bit of talk, though, that he’s been very careful to economise on the wages bill which makes sense in lean years. Then again, when it comes to contract renegotiations, those kinds of savings might just come back to bite you in the ass, particularly if players that you really would like to keep, feel that you’ve given them a raw deal in the past.

This is, of course, related to the recent news that Manie Reynecke (and his chief henchman Dick Muir) are chasing some pretty big Sharks signings indeed. No longer content to raid the junior ranks (5 of the Lions’ 7 tries last weekend were scored by Sharks age-group players), a weekend news report has indicated that John Smit, JP Pietersen and Ryan Kankowski are all on the shopping list. We’ve reported on the Smit story a number of times as it certainly isn’t a new development. Our information is that the prospect of working with Muir in a player-coach role has been enough to convince the Bok captain to move away from his beloved Sharks and the confirmation that he has yet to renew his Sharks contract, which expires in October, seems to add credence to these reports. If that in itself wasn’t enough (and I believe the Sharks have missed a trick here by not attempting to add Smit to their own coaching staff), the prospect of a frankly staggering R4 Million salary for a single season really ought to be the deal clincher.

Fact is, the Sharks probably cannot afford to pay John Smit that much money – not without selling Bismarck du Plessis. For the ongoing health of everybody involved, it’s probably a good thing if one of them moves on from Durban anyway and from a Sharks perspective, in terms of pure bang for buck, Bismarck would be a better investment right now. As much as I love Smittie – you all know I do and I know him personally – I feel that his on-field value to the Sharks in 2011 will be negligible and if the Lions want to pay him more than any other South African player has ever earned for a single season, I think we should let them.

It’s the other two players that concern me, as both Pietersen and Kankowski’s contracts come up for renewal at the end of this season and neither has yet committed his future to the Sharks. Kankowski’s contract allows the Sharks first rights to him, but that presumably means they would need to match whatever money any other party is prepared to put on the table. He has not currently received an offer from the Lions, but I’m sure that will change soon. Pietersen is alleged to be in talks with the Bulls, as well as the Lions and Sharks. I’ve heard that his wage demands are not far short of Smit’s, though, making a move to Pretoria unlikely. My gut feel is that both players would probably rather stay with the Sharks next year – even if only on one-year deals – then risk moving to a union where so much is uncertain. Then again, a career in rugby is a short one and as established stars, both would expect to earn a hefty chunk of money. Kankowski is certainly worth close to double the 1.5M a year salary he is currently on.

This is where Straeuli is going to have to step up to the mark and show us his worth. Getting into a bidding war against somebody who has seemingly no end to his resources is a a mug’s game, but this is the challenge that the Sharks face. Losing either Hoff or JP would, quite frankly, be a disaster, since both have shown over a number of seasons that they have the goods and know how to deliver when the chips are down. Let’s hope that all the scrimping and saving in other areas has left Straeuli with enough of a war chest that he can afford to put serious offers in front of these two stars, together with whatever other incentives are required to keep them in the black and white next season.

Come on, Rudi. You can do it!


  • No, not the Hoff! I will personally block the N3 highway! Or whatever flight he’s on. 🙂

  • Comment 1, posted at 30.08.10 13:51:30 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • @CapeShark (Comment 1) : we may have to do a whip-around to keep him 🙂

  • Comment 2, posted at 30.08.10 13:57:40 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • 100% agreed Rob.. JPP and Hoff would be huge losses to us. JP is still a youngster (he just turned 24!) and Hoff is turning 25 in October. They have another 2-3 years at Sharks before they go overseas to make the long dollars!

  • Comment 3, posted at 30.08.10 13:58:52 by Oubaas2009 Reply

  • Do the lions really have that much money? r are their clowns just talking big like most gautengers do?

    If the Lions had that much money howcome they couldn’t hold on to Fourie & Alberts?

    I wonder how much of the “we will have John Mitchell as coach in 2012” is being thrown about in these negotiations?

  • Comment 4, posted at 30.08.10 14:00:13 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • JPP and Muir have a good relationship. It is Muir who plucked him from obscurity at Jaguars and gave him his shot at the big time.

    That sort of relationship is very hard to break.

  • Comment 5, posted at 30.08.10 14:03:25 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • It would totally suck…now I’m going to have to keep my breath until these two guys put pen two paper. It would be extremely hard to replace either of these players. I just don’t know why you would want to go play for a losing team?? I guess 4 million would be enough. 😐

  • Comment 6, posted at 30.08.10 14:05:51 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 5) : Don’t say things like that.

  • Comment 7, posted at 30.08.10 14:06:45 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Hoff spends so much time away from the Sharks on the Bok bench would it not be wise to just let him go?

  • Comment 8, posted at 30.08.10 14:10:16 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 8) :

    There is no Bok Rugby during the S15. 😉

  • Comment 9, posted at 30.08.10 14:13:08 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • let jp go. smit will probably retire next year anyway so what is a year earlier. kanko is the only player i would fight to keep at the sharks.

  • Comment 10, posted at 30.08.10 14:13:28 by try time Reply

  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 8) :

    that would be like saying you guys shouldlet Fourie and De jongh Come to us coz they never play for you anyway. 🙂

  • Comment 11, posted at 30.08.10 14:14:40 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Biggest loss would be JPP: we have some awesome loosies right now.

    That said, I hope we can hold onto all 3. Hopefully Dolfie didn’t blow the budget on the 5 centres we have for next year.

  • Comment 12, posted at 30.08.10 14:14:55 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 8) : Yeah but will he get more game time being at the Lions? It’s also the subject of an amazingly written piece on this website.

  • Comment 13, posted at 30.08.10 14:15:14 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • Nope, cant see it happening… Why would you want to leave a team that IMO is coming together really nicely, and is hopefully on the verge of serious S15 campaign, for one where they are in the rebuilding phase? Money is not everything in this game – granted they only have a short period in which to make the $$$, but cannot see them being lured away to JHB of all places..

    The Lions are going to potentially pay around R10mil for the trio… Its a little ridiculous. There are a lot of class schools in the area, and we all know what Muir can do with raw talent… Spend the cash wisely and build for the future – the hard work is already starting to pay off…

  • Comment 14, posted at 30.08.10 14:15:48 by Mole Reply

  • as for smit being a player coach at the sharks, i cannot see it working. how often do you hear of coaches not getting support from old team mates in the team. it only works if you coach another union that hasn’t got any old team mates in it.

  • Comment 15, posted at 30.08.10 14:17:32 by try time Reply

  • @Big Fish (Comment 12) : 5 centres? ooooooh I hope this includes a genuine 13. . .

  • Comment 16, posted at 30.08.10 14:18:10 by Original Log Leader Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Mole (Comment 14) : Yeah, things are starting to happen there. Big names can disrupt that progress; just look at our yearly foreign flyhalf fiasco.

  • Comment 17, posted at 30.08.10 14:22:06 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • The Lions won’t just buy for talent’s sake. Its also about marketing popular players in your side, and convincing people you are on the up: hence established players rushing to join you.

    I reckon Murray’s woes might weigh against our okes leaving, but I am VERY nervous about all this – we have been bleeding WAY too many players of late. 🙁

  • Comment 18, posted at 30.08.10 14:22:21 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @try time (Comment 15) :

    how often do you hear of coaches not getting support from old team mates in the team

    I don’t know.
    How often DO you?

    I’ve never heard of it.

  • Comment 19, posted at 30.08.10 14:23:25 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • I actually think it`s vital for our S15 campaign that Smit does not fill the hooker berth. Even if he is rested and reconditioned I can’t see him adding more value than Bismarck, Burden and Cooper can.

    Sure his leadership skills are awesome, but we have a great win record without him, so that’s no big deal.

    Concerning JP and Kanko I just can’t see the Lions being able to fork out enough dosh to lure them if they’re going to pay Smit alone R4 million. Somehow I also can’t see them going off to join the Lions, especially if they don’t even make the play-offs in the CC this year. It wouldn’t make sense as a career move.

    But stranger things have happened, so I might have to join CapeShark on the main runway at King Shaka Airport.

  • Comment 20, posted at 30.08.10 14:33:00 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 19) : didn’t hugh go straight from playing for the sharks to coaching them and there were respect issues? i can’t see bis taking advise from john. most successful coaches coach smaller teams and unions before heading back to their union.

  • Comment 21, posted at 30.08.10 14:33:27 by try time Reply

  • i wonder what the player to coach in same team success rate is? granted he is only going to be assistent, but it still requires old team mates to see you as boss and not their pal. i may be wrong, but i cannot see smit being player-coach at the sharks being successful.

  • Comment 22, posted at 30.08.10 14:36:53 by try time Reply

  • If it is to be believed, we are going to find ourselves loosing our Captain, and with Stefan surely not able (I could be wrong) to retain a starting position over the incoming players, we are going to be short of leadership. All the quality in the world means nothing without direction.

    Botes – Yes, but with Albert/Deysel/Kanko it wont work
    Hargreaves – Maybe – will have to play well to keep out Skeate, Mostert

    And this is the major problem, which one of the current squad is ready and competent enough to lead us to a final?

    I think it would be better for the Lions to recruit a player like Burden (God forbid) and spend some cash on players that could be molded by Muir… Why put all eggs in one basket with close to 10mil on 3 players? it doesnt make financial sense for a union that struggles to get 8000 supporters through the gates… If the idea is to attract the public with big names – not such a bad idea…

  • Comment 23, posted at 30.08.10 14:48:56 by Mole Reply

  • Oooooh!!!!! Sharkies getting a little worried i see!! Don’t like your own medicine :mrgreen:
    Shame on you. As you guys always tell us, this is professional rugby, and money talks. You had a field day with the Lions when we lost Alberts and Ludik to you,(Hope Ludik makes a full recovery)and Fourie to WP. Looks like all the contactual nonsense is over, and we can put a team out there that can compete with the best.

  • Comment 24, posted at 30.08.10 15:04:08 by Lion4ever Reply

  • Aaah! A hen’s tooth!

    No worries – I don’t think anyone is complaining about the Lions wanting our players – it IS the professional era after all.

    Our concern is just that our own administrators must ensure that they stay.

  • Comment 25, posted at 30.08.10 15:08:53 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Big Fish, good sporting reply. Actually its the same with us. Just our guys seemed to mess it up recently, but hopefully they have learned their lesson.

  • Comment 26, posted at 30.08.10 15:15:38 by Lion4ever Reply

  • @Lion4ever (Comment 26) : You guys are going to have to win a round sometime.. Its not fun if we can just “poach” at will… 😉 🙂

  • Comment 27, posted at 30.08.10 15:21:53 by Mole Reply

  • We won a round with Murray. He seems to ahve regained his zest for rugby with us, which he seemed to have lost at the Sharks.

  • Comment 28, posted at 30.08.10 15:31:18 by Lion4ever Reply

  • what about Bjorn Basson? why is he not rumoured to go somewhere else? i rate him quite a bit. wouldnt the lions do better in signing him? should be alot cheaper?

    JPP would be a loss, but not so hard-felt if we could still lure Mapoe to the sharks. if we fail to do so and JPP signs with the lions, that would be a disaster.

  • Comment 29, posted at 30.08.10 15:41:09 by VanWilder Reply

  • @Lion4ever (Comment 28) : as you may recall, we didn’t fight you on that one.

  • Comment 30, posted at 30.08.10 15:47:54 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 30) : 😆 😆

    Selling Smit would put us in an excellent position to bring back a player that MUST NOT, under any circumstances, play for any other union in SA besides the Sharks – Frans Steyn! If JP goes it wouldnt harm us that much with Ludik able to play wing, plus we got old faithful (Stefan)! 😆

  • Comment 31, posted at 30.08.10 16:02:06 by Mole Reply

  • @Mole (Comment 31) : u reckon the Sharks have 7 million per season for one player?? 🙄

  • Comment 32, posted at 30.08.10 16:26:04 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice (Comment 32) : R7mil?? 😯 😯 Thought it was around the R4mil mark. He is going to be hard pressed to find a club willing to match that ridiculous salary…

    Please ignore above post 😉 🙂

  • Comment 33, posted at 30.08.10 16:28:27 by Mole Reply

  • @Mole (Comment 23) : I reckon we have to blood a new captain sooner or later, whether or not John or Stefan decides to make a duck.

    Our problem is that nobody stands out and the ones that seem like good choices aren’t necessarily sure of their positions.

  • Comment 34, posted at 30.08.10 17:22:01 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • If the Sharks buy steyn back, I’m handing in my membership card

  • Comment 35, posted at 30.08.10 17:22:36 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 35) : You not the biggest Steyn fan??

  • Comment 36, posted at 30.08.10 17:28:03 by Mole Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 35) : steyn wont come back to durbs, he was wearing a wp tracksuit the other day

  • Comment 37, posted at 30.08.10 17:39:48 by war1 Reply
  • @Mole (Comment 33) : well, that should be the equivalent to what he is earning now..for that salary I would have also made the choice he did..luckily he negotiated withRM that should SA need him, they should release him…albeit following the right protocol and on time..may I add.
    @robdylan (Comment 35) :gooi terug jou speelgoed in di cot! The day u hand in Sharks membership, is the day hell will freeze over! 😉

  • Comment 38, posted at 30.08.10 17:44:31 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Lion4ever (Comment 24) :

    I like your avatar. Very Dark. Quite apt considering the dark days you guys are going through. 😉

  • Comment 39, posted at 30.08.10 18:37:16 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Bismarck for captain!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If the captaincy sorted out Schalk Burgers issues maybe it will do the same for Bismarck?

  • Comment 40, posted at 30.08.10 18:38:42 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Lmao @ KSA Shark. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 41, posted at 30.08.10 18:40:33 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 41) :

    Hopefully at my 1st comment. 😛

  • Comment 42, posted at 30.08.10 18:42:30 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Comment 39! 😉

  • Comment 43, posted at 30.08.10 19:06:44 by wpw Reply
  • If anyone sees Rob, tell him I am looking for him…

  • Comment 44, posted at 30.08.10 19:12:39 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 44) :

    be on Skype at 9pm he’ll be there with the rest of us.

  • Comment 45, posted at 30.08.10 19:14:08 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 45) :

    Got him on his cell, he does not have my skype but seems all sorted now.

  • Comment 46, posted at 30.08.10 19:20:40 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 46) : cool

  • Comment 47, posted at 30.08.10 19:25:36 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Morné (Comment 46) : excellent

  • Comment 48, posted at 30.08.10 20:59:53 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • to say dck muir plucked jp from obscurity is rediculous. he was 19 and dominating the local club scene. waylon murray played for that same jaguars team and they were both obvious talents that were always going places and needed little help.

  • Comment 49, posted at 31.08.10 05:48:03 by soutie Reply

  • Smit will definately not be the biggest loss as player. But as roll model, sincerity, genuineness and honesty we are going to lose a great guy! But nevertheless, we’ve got Bis, Craig and Kyle right there in the mix. Now for Kanko and JPP. Dolf needs to open up his wallet here for sure. Two very talented players. Will almost never let you / the team down.

  • Comment 50, posted at 31.08.10 08:19:55 by SharksRTB Reply


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