Steve Meyer leaves French club rugby to return to Sharks

2010-01-22 00:00

THE Sharks have negotiated the release of Steve Meyer from French club Perpignan and have signed the talented flyhalf on a two-year contract.

Meyer, a rushed signing after Argentine flyhalf Juan Hernandez was ruled out of the Super 14 with a back injury earlier this month, will arrive in Durban on Tuesday — and could feature in the pre-season friendly against the Stormers in Cape Town next Friday.

The signing of Meyer, a former Sharks flyhalf, was confirmed by Sharks’ commercial manager Rudolf Straeuli yesterday.

“The late withdrawal of Hernandez was a major problem and finding a suitable replacement has not been easy,” said Straeuli.

“But we wanted to sign someone who we regard as a long-term investment and we preferred to contract a good local flyhalf, a player who knows the Sharks culture and our systems.”

Straeuli said that the Sharks were fortunate to gain Meyer’s immediate release.

“His contract over there with Perpignan ends in June, but Meyer is keen to return to the Sharks and then challenge for a place in the national squad.

And, because he would not renew his contract with Perpignan, they agreed to him leaving now,” said Straeuli.

The contracting of Meyer, a player with three years’ experience in the tough world of French club rugby, and the presence of Monty Dumond as back-up, will allow Sharks head coach John Plumtree to return to his original plan of selecting Ruan Pienaar at scrumhalf.

Meyer, a former Kearsney College head boy, first played for the Natal Wildebeest in 2003 and later won promotion to the Sharks senior side.

Although he battled with injuries, he impressed with his all-round skills and it came as a surprise when Dick Muir, the head coach of the Sharks squad at the time, failed to renew his contract in 2006.

Meyer moved to France to join Perpignan, where he has played since October 2006, benefiting from the presence of All Black flyhalf Dan Carter at the club for two months at the end of 2008.

However, the Sharks will be concerned by Meyer’s ongoing problem with injuries, confirmed by Perpignan president Paul Goze yesterday.

“Steve has had nothing but bad luck with us, with one injury after another,” Goze told reporters.

“But he has always given his all in trying to get back to full fitness, and in no way do we want to stand in the way of his career.”

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