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Reluctant du Plessis brothers are the Sharks’ to lose

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Springboks on 14 Mar 2013 at 13:29
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

A flurry of activity yesterday erupted, following the not-altogether-surprising news that Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis are in high demand outside of the country’s borders.

EWN news-hound Jean Smyth broke the story yesterday that the brothers, whose Sharks contracts are up at the end of the season, were set to meet with a French agent in Durban today, to discuss a number of potential offers. Big-spending Stade Toulousain, who already have the likes of Gurthro Steenkamp and Gary Botha on their books, were said to be foremost among the clubs vying to scoop up the Bok front-row pair and while no mention was made of any numbers, one can only assume that the sort of figure on the table must be a pretty staggering one.

Now as I said above, none of this is particularly surprising, nor is it necessarily all that worrying from the Sharks point of view. Bismarck, who despite being the younger, tends to be the unofficial spokesman for the pair, has confirmed the talks, but has also indicated that the brothers consider Durban and the Sharks their home, thus not being particularly keen to leave. The Sharks have since revealed that they are aware of the talks with Toulouse, but are also in discussions themselves with the players regarding a contract extension of their own, which together with the anticipated Springbok contracts should hopefully be enough to convince the pair to stay put, rather than suffer the upheaval associated with moving to a foreign country.

Both players have strong business ties to Durban and moreover have a farm in the Free State that they would be unwilling to leave for any length of time. There has also been a bit of a history of “other offers” surfacing whenever it comes close to renewal time for the du Plessis brothers and despite at least three such occasions that I can recall, both have opted to renew in Durban on every occasion. Sharks Commercial Director Rudolf Straeuli is a notoriously tough negotiator and likes to keep a tight hold on the union’s purse strings at the best of times; fair game to the brothers, I say, if they’ve managed to find a credible way to use a bit of leverage to get a bigger slice of the Sharks’ salary pie for next year and beyond.

So all-in-all, it’s far from a foregone conclusion that the brothers will leave the Sharks. They’re comfortable, they’re happy and both in pretty good nick, despite Bismarck’s current injury, and are both considered Springbok first-choice players when fit. Obviously it’s unrealistic to expect any local package to be able to match what’s on offer abroad, but players know that there are a lot more factors to take into account than just money.

We’ll follow this one as it develops, but there’s certainly no cause for doom, gloom, rage or blind panic at this stage.


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