Ireland may get Terblanche

2011-11-01 00:00

STEFAN Terblanche’s 14-year career with the Sharks is over.

The 36-year-old Terblanche, who is the first South African to play in more than 100 Super Rugby and Currie Cup games, has not been signed for the 2012 season.

CEO Brian van Zyl confirmed yesterday that the Sharks will not be negotiating a fresh contract with Terblanche, who played his first game for the Sharks in 1998. Van Zyl said Terblanche has been told of the decision.

The veteran said last month that he planned to play at least one more season and would look for a contract elsewhere if the Sharks cannot accommodate him.

It is believed that he now plans to accept a three-month offer to play club rugby in Ireland.

Terblanche, versatile and with the full range of skills, played for the Sharks on the wing before moving to fullback and then centre.

He captained the Sharks to their Currie Cup triumph last year, but his final game for the franchise, Saturday’s Currie Cup final against the Golden Lions at the weekend, was less successful and he was substituted by Adi Jacobs in the second half.

Terblanche’s first-class career has been spread over 18 years. He made his provincial debut for Nick Malett’s Boland team in 1994 as a 19-year-old and played 66 games for the union before moving to Durban.

With over 220 games for the Sharks in Super Rugby and Currie Cup rugby, a stint with the Ospreys in Wales and 37 Tests for the Springboks, Terblanche has played more than 350 first-class games.

Exceptionally fit with a high work ethic, the durable Terblanche has proved a loyal member of the Sharks squad and has proved an ideal role model. He has, understandably, lost some of pace his with the passing years, but he has remained a reliable and experienced performer, strong and brave under the high ball and a solid defender.

Terblanche scored 19 tries in 37 internationals, including a South African Test record (at the time) of four tries on debut against Ireland in Bloemfontein in 1998.

His Test tries per match ratio of 0,51 is among the highest in Springbok history and is better than that of Carel du Plessis (0,33), Breyton Paulse (0,44) and Pieter Rossouw (0,48).

Van Zyl said the Sharks have signed nearly all their other senior players, and their many Springboks, for the 2012 season. The only exceptions are Terblanche and retired Springbok and Sharks captain John Smit, who has moved to Saracens in London, while negotiations with 31-year-old centre Adi Jacobs are ongoing.

Two new signings, Griquas fullback Riaan Viljoen and Western Province centre Tim Whitehead, will join the Sharks at the end of the year.

Viljoen, capped for the Junior Springboks on their 2009 tour of Europe, can also play centre or flyhalf . The 23-year-old Whitehead made his Super Rugby debut for the Stormers last year, but he has since been squeezed out by the many high-profile outside backs in Cape Town.

Van Zyl said the result of the final at Ellis Park had been “really disappointing”, but added that it is necessary to retain a sense of perspective.

“I think the players did really well to reach the final in what has been a disrupted season. And it certainly showed that you need to be streetwise and tough to go up to an intimidating stadium like Ellis Park and win a final,” he added.

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