Sharks confirm parting of ways with Jacobs

2011-11-23 00:00

THE Sharks have opted against renewing the contract of former Springbok Adi Jacobs and the chunky centre is to return to his home in Cape Town.

Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl confirmed yesterday that Jacobs’s eight-year career in Durban was over.

“Adi has served us loyally since 2004 but it is time to move on and we are not renewing his contract,” Van Zyl told The Witness.

Jacobs will be the Sharks’ third experienced player to leave Durban in the past few weeks with hooker John Smit playing for Saracens in London and Stefan Terblanche now under contract to Ulster.

It is understood that the 31-year-old Jacobs, like Terblanche, was keen to have one more season in Durban but the Sharks are looking to blood younger players for the future.

Jacobs is now considering quitting the game but, as assistant Sharks coach Grant Bashford said yesterday, he is likely to receive offers from other provinces and overseas clubs.

“He has had a long career with us and been a great servant of Sharks rugby,” said Bashford. “He is a heck of a good player, a real character and a great team man. I would be surprised if he is not persuaded to carry on playing by some South African or overseas team.”

An outstanding junior player, Jacobs was capped for South Africa at U19, U21 and U23 level. He started his provincial career in 2000 with the Falcons (46 caps) before moving to Durban in 2004. He won a total of 156 caps for the Sharks (71 in the Currie Cup and 88 in Super Rugby), scoring 36 tries.

An elusive and exciting attacking player with an ability to break the gainline, he played in 34 Tests, making his debut as a 21-year-old against Italy in 2001 and turning out against the British Lions in 2009.

In recent seasons, and with injury punctuating his career, he has been used as an impact player by the Sharks, playing most of his rugby off the bench.

But the Sharks, with a nagging, on-going problem at centre, are now looking forward and hoping that Western Province import Tim Whitehead, Meyer Bosman, Marius Joubert and perhaps Pat Lambie (if he is not at flyhalf or fullback) will provide some of the answers.

Bashford said that the Sharks returned to the training field on Monday for the first time since the Currie Cup final defeat last month.

“We had a light session and we are assessing the fitness of all the players. The World Cup Springboks have been given a longer break and will rejoin us next week,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Cape Town, Lions flyhalf Burton Francis was out running with the Stormers when they began their pre-season training schedule on Monday.

The Stormers have contracted only three new players in Joe Pietersen (Bayonne), former Sharks prop Deon Carstens (Saracens) and Gerhard van den Heever (Bulls), but Francis, who is under contract to the Lions, could also be signed by the Cape Town franchise.

The Lions have two Springbok flyhalves, Butch James and Elton Jantjies, under contract and releasing Francis is obviously a possibility.

The Boland trio of Bolla Conradie, Elgar Watts and Clemen Lewis also trained with the Stormers.

The Stormers recently lost promising flyhalf Lionel Cronjé to the Bulls, and aside from Peter Grant, who is playing in Japan, are lacking experience in the pivot role.

The Bulls are also looking to improve their options at flyhalf by encouraging Saracens’ Derick Hougaard to return home to Pretoria.

The former Springbok flyhalf is reportedly keen to return home but he would serve as an understudy to Morné Steyn.

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