Mapoe: Cheetahs taking the Sharks to court

2010-09-10 00:00

THE Free State Cheetahs are taking Lionel Mapoe and the Sharks to the Supreme Court to force the wing to return to Bloemfontein and play rugby.

Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl told The Witness yesterday that an interdict “has just been served on Mapoe and us”.

“We have to appear in the Supreme Court in Bloemfontein on September 23,” he said.

The 22-year-old Mapoe, alleging that he had been grossly underpaid and exploited, has been involved in a wage dispute with the Free State Rugby Union for months.

He has settled in Durban and has been training with the Sharks since signing a contract with them in May.

Van Zyl confirmed that Mapoe is still practising with the Sharks and that he has recovered from injury and is ready to resume playing.

Mapoe has ignored a recent arbitration ruling by Advocate Bertus van Rhyn, who instructed the young wing to return to the Free State.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers, who is hoping to include Mapoe in his end-of-the-year tour squad to the UK, has indicated that he wants to resolve the dispute, but scheduled meetings with the concerned parties have been cancelled at the last minute.

Free State president Harold Verster has told the reporters he wants the matter settled in the high court and added that the Cheetahs do not want any transfer fee from the Sharks.

“We want Mapoe back with us,” he said.

Quite how the Cheetahs would force a reluctant player to play, and perform, against his will is not clear.

In spite of Verster’s statement, a transfer fee paid by the Sharks to Free State seems to be the only way to resolve this dispute.

Meanwhile, Van Zyl told The Witness yesterday that reports that several senior Sharks are to sign for the Lions are wishful thinking.

It has been claimed that Dick Muir and the Lions are on the point of contracting John Smit, JP Pietersen and Ryan Kankowski for next year.

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