Lions jam Sharks’ pre-season plans

2010-01-21 00:00

THE Sharks’ pre-season preparations, already hampered by the loss of flyhalf Juan Hernandez and surgery to Ruan Pienaar, have been further disrupted by the on-going squabble over Lions players Willem Alberts and Louis Ludik.

Both players have been in Durban since November and their salaries are being paid by the Sharks. But the Lions are refusing to provide them with clearance certificates.

While Ludik is recovering from knee surgery and will not be available for the early rounds of the Super 14, the Sharks were expecting to field number eight Alberts in the pre-season friendlies against the Western Force and the Stormers in Cape Town next week. It could be weeks before the dispute is resolved, with SA Rugby Union refusing to become involved.

Saru said this week that the players may not play for the Sharks until they have received clearance certificates from the Golden Lions Rugby Union. This includes friendly fixtures, as well as the Super 14.

The Lions claim that the pair are still on their books while the Sharks believe the contracts are invalid and are similar to the one which ended in Bok centre Jaque Fourie successfully going to arbitration.

Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl says that Saru must now resolve the dispute, but legal manager Christo Ferreira told News24 the governing body would not get involved.

“Our regulations state that a player may not play for a new province in a friendly game or competition prior to being released by his previous union,” said Ferreira.

Lions CEO Manie Reyneke has publicly said he will make it as difficult as possible for the Sharks to gain the necessary clearance.

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