Alberts and Ludick are finally Sharks

2010-02-13 00:00

THE Sharks won their high court application in Cape Town yesterday when former Lions players Willem Alberts and Louis Ludik were cleared to play for the Durban franchise.

Alberts will be on the bench for tonight’s Super 14 opener against the Chiefs, while fullback Ludik is recovering from knee surgery and is expected to join the Sharks on their Super 14 tour in a fortnight..

The Sharks, represented by senior advocate Jeremy Gauntlett, took their contractual dispute to the high court when SA Rugby Union (Saru) judicial officer Koos Basson this week refused to rule on the validity of the players’ contracts with the Lions.

Basson said that such a responsibility falls outside the disciplinary regulations of Saru.

Judge Dennis Davis yesterday sided with the Sharks, ruling that the Lions’ contracts with the two players are invalid. He ordered the Lions to sign the clearance papers for the two players with immediate effect.

The Lions CEO, Manie Reyneke, and president Kevin de Klerk were both in Cape Town yesterday to hear the bad news and that they will also have to bear the substantial costs of the Sharks’ high court application.

Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl said he welcomes the decision of the court ,but said he was angry that SA Rugby had allowed the matter to drag on for months.

“They have known about this dispute since November 9 and have refused to become involved even though they had the precedent of the Jaque Fourie arbitration case. Then we were twice told, first by Lex Mpati (the chairman of the Saru judicial committee) and Basson that they could not enforce their own regulations.

“It was an open-and-shut case, but it has dragged on for months and no one has come out of it with any credit, while the players involved have suffered.”

Van Zyl said that in his affidavit to the high court he had not mentioned the Jaque Fourie case.

“We wanted this to be judged purely on the merits of this case.”

Reyneke has said that the two players were always part of the Lions’ Super 14 plans yet they have been in Durban since November and their salaries have been paid since then by the Sharks.

He has consistently been reported as saying he would make it as difficult as possible for the Sharks to field their two new signings, and he succeeded in achieving that limited goal.

The battle was finally being decided on the opening day of the Super 14 and in a high court … but it came at a price for the Lions.

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