Ruling soon on player squabble

2010-02-06 00:00

SA RUGBY’S disciplinary hearing into the Sharks-Lions squabble over the signing of Louis Ludik and Willem Alberts will take place in Cape Town next Wednesday.

“About time,” Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl huffed yesterday. “We first asked SA Rugby to settle the dispute on November 9 and we now will only have a decision just a couple of days before the Super 14 starts.”

The two former Lions signed contracts with the Sharks in November, and have been receiving their salaries from the Durban franchise, but have yet to gain clearance from the Lions.

Saru refused to become involved in the dispute in spite of repeated requests by the Sharks. Finally, in an attempt to force the Lions’ hand and galvanise Saru into action, the Sharks fielded Alberts in the friendly against the Western Force in Cape Town last week.

The Lions have responded by laying a complaint with Saru and the matter will go before a disciplinary hearing chaired by senior advocate Jeremy Gauntlett, an expert on South African commercial law.

“We haven’t seen the charge sheet yet,” Van Zyl told the Weekend Witness yesterday, “so I don’t know what we have supposed to have done wrong.”

Van Zyl said there is no truth in reports that the Sharks are about to sign the former Western Province and Boland flyhalf Isma-eel Dollie.

“We talked to a lot of flyhalves when Juan Hernanadez was injured, but we have signed Steve Meyer.”

While the Sharks are confident that playmaker Ruan Pienaar will be ready for selection for the Super 14 opener against the Chiefs in Durban next weekend, the injury-prone former Bok flyhalf, Andre Pretorius, is out of the Super 14.

Pretorius, who was the big signing by the Western Force, will miss the whole Super 14 with a hamstring injury.

Scans on the injury yesterday revealed that the muscle had pulled away from the bone and he requires surgery. With Wallaby flyhalf Matt Giteau now back with the Brumbies, the Force are in a pickle.

“I’m really disappointed that I won’t be able to have the opportunity to represent the Force,” the 31-year-old Pretorius said. “It was a freak injury at training and my body was in the best condition it has been in a long time.”

Pretorius said it was a bitter outcome after all the hard work he had put in to be fit for the new season.

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