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New allegations of squad discord emerge

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 14 May 2013 at 08:00
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

According to a frankly unbelievable article in Beeld this morning, the Sharks tour squad currently on tour in Australia are a divided lot, with cultural differences between players at the heart of the discord.

Christo Buchner alleges – according to the usual “informed trustworthy sources” – that the unhappiness stems from a comment made by Keegan Daniel, that there are “too many Afrikaners” involved in Sharks rugby. This has apparently rankled the largely-Afrikaans playing group, with Daniel admittedly among the minority of English-speaking players within the team.

I must admit that I personally find this one incredibly hard to believe and it looks like the sort of story dreamed up by a journalist with an agenda, in collusion with one or two perhaps disgruntled folks on the fringes of the squad. The Sharks have always been a proudly cosmopolitan team – and let’s be honest, given the demographic make-up of rugby players in this country, it’s not surprising that there’s a large contingent of Afrikaans speakers in the squad. There always has been, there always will be and nobody that I’ve spoken to has ever suggested that it’s been a source of division.

You have to remember that many of these players have come up through the ranks together through the Sharks Academy and age-group rugby. There are very strong bonds between many of them and while in any team environment you will always find individuals who don’t get along, to suggest that there’s some mass division with English on one side and Afrikaans on the other is quite simply nonsense. The sort of story, I’m sure, that sells plenty of newspapers up north, regardless of its veracity.

What is needed now, more than ever, is for strong leadership within Sharks rugby to emerge and take control of this situation. When the team performs badly, such rumours , whether baseless or not, will always find tongues willing to repeat them. The Sharks squad needs to make an emphatic announcement this weekend that despite all the shenanigans, they remain tight as a group – and a win over the Force in Perth would be just the way to do that.


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