The Sharks have held
onto their 2019 World Cup winning Springboks, including Makazole Mapimpi,
after South African rugby’s very own transfer deadline day on Thursday.
Professional rugby players in the
country had until midnight on Thursday – the end of a three-week window – to
leave their existing contracts with their unions.
It was a clause was agreed upon
by the SA Rugby Industry, MyPlayers and the South African Rugby Employers’
Organisation (Sareo) last month as part of SA Rugby’s efforts to cut costs in
the face of the global coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, the final day of the
window, Super Rugby coaches and union administrators endured a nervy evening in
the knowledge that their players could exercise their option to exit their
That happened in Durban, where
25-year-old lock Tyler
Paul on Thursday night informed the franchise that he
would be leaving. Paul is understood to have accepted an offer in Japan and
Sharks CEO Ed Coetzee was informed of the decision after 22:00.
The good news, though, is that
star Springbok wing Mapimpi is staying.
The 29-year-old had been the
subject of much speculation and is understood to have received a lucrative
counter-offer from a Japanese club after initially turning them down.
There was uncertainty over his
future as recently as Thursday evening, but after communication with Coetzee,
the Bok speedster eventually gave his commitment to the franchise.
Lukhanyo Am had been linked with
a European move, but he has also committed to the Sharks.
Speaking to Sport24 on Friday
morning, Coetzee acknowledged that the money on offer had made it a difficult
situation for Mapimpi.
“It’s a tough decision to
make,” Coetzee said.
A further complication in the
clause stipulated that the franchises were not allowed to make counter-offers
for their players – a ruling that has been a source of much anguish for local
coaches and administrators.
Coetzee, though, is pleased with
how the Sharks have emerged from a situation that had the potential to be a lot
“We’re very happy and I
think it’s the fruit of the system and the way we treat our players,” he
“If the players were not
happy, they would have left.
“There is a strong
leadership group here within the players and Sean (Everitt, coach) has done a
fantastic job. I think the players actually sorted it out themselves and they
want to be part of a successful era at the Sharks.
“We’re relieved, but also
The Sharks were top of the
combined 2020 Super Rugby standings after seven rounds of fixtures when the
tournament was suspended due to the coronavirus.