/Bok hooker Mbonambi linked to Bulls, but Stormers stand firm

Bok hooker Mbonambi linked to Bulls, but Stormers stand firm

2020-05-24 12:17

The Bulls, starting fresh under new Director of Rugby Jake White, are interested in securing the services of Springbok and Stormers hooker Bongi Mbonambi.

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The 29-year-old, who was the starting hooker when the Boks won the 2019 World Cup in Japan, is contracted to Western Province until the end of October 2021. 

Afrikaans newspaper Rapport suggested on Sunday that a clause in Mbonambi’s contract allowed him to leave after the completion of Super Rugby this year. 

While White has confirmed his interest in the player, Stormers coach John Dobson confirmed to Sport24 on Sunday that there was no such release clause in Mbonambi’s contract.

“Bongi is a world class player and we’re thrilled to have him, as we are all of our Springboks who have committed their futures to the union,” Dobson said.

“He is a fantastic guy and while we understand that there will always be interest in him, we expect him to serve out the rest of his contract with us.”

The Stormers have only just recovered from a chaotic couple of weeks involving the future of 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year, Pieter-Steph du Toit. 

Having exited his contract with Western Province during a 21-day window period that allowed players to do so, Du Toit has since re-committed his future to the union and withdrawn his contract termination.

That matter has not been entirely put to bed, though, with the South African Rugby Employers’ Organisation (SAREO) seeking clarity on how Du Toit’s negotiations with the union unfolded. 

Unions were not allowed to negotiate finances with their players during the 21-day window and the Stormers have since confirmed that Du Toit, like every other player, has taken a pay cut as SA Rugby carries out its extensive cost-cutting across the board in light of the coronavirus crisis. 

Sport24 further understands that Western Province’s leadership is largely relaxed on the matter given that they consulted their legal team at length throughout the Du Toit saga. 

The Bulls, meanwhile, are also understood to be offloading a number of other players with Rosko Specman and Cornal Hendricks two of those. 

Specman’s contract at Loftus expires at the end of October this year. 

While Newlands has been identified as one possible destination for the player, the Stormers are unlikely to make that move given that Specman is already 31 and a similar type of player to 25-year-old Seabelo Senatla. 

With Super Rugby 2020 still suspended indefinitely as South Africa continues its fight against the coronavirus crisis, there is no certainty when franchises in the country will return to play. 

Original Source