Mapoe adds fuel to the fire
Lionel Mapoe (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg – The contractual dispute between the Cheetahs and Sharks over the services of wing Lionel Mapoe is set to add fuel to the fire of the rugby war that will be waged between the unions in Saturday’s Currie Cup match in Durban.
Free State believe that the Sharks “stole” Mapoe from under their noses under false pretences and believes he should return home after an arbitrator ruled in their favour.
However, Mapoe is kicking in his heels and does not want to go back to the Cheetahs.
The Sharks’ question to the Cheetahs is: Why does he not want to return? Look at yourselves first and you will then realise why he does not want to play for you.
In the meantime, the Mapoe-timebomb keeps ticking and it appears that the saga is set to continue for a while.
The Cheetahs’ emotions may well be channelled into their performance on the field on Saturday. There is nothing they would like more than to beat the log-leaders on their own field.
And with Meyer Bosman also set to leave Bloemfontein for Durban next year, it just makes things that much worse.
The battle of the boardrooms will certainly add spice to Saturday’s match.
For the Sharks, Friday night’s scrappy 30-14 win over the Pumas in Witbank was everything but ideal preparation for rugby’s version of the Rumble in the Jungle.
An excellent performance in the first 20 minutes was enough to secure five log points against the Pumas. After that the Sharks were unable to register more than a penalty in the last hour’s play.
“Yes, it wasn’t ideal,” admitted Sharks assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards. “But at least we spent most of the second half in their territory.”
“We could not finish and that is something we will have to look at. We gave away too much possession in that second half. That happens with the high-risk rugby that we play,” he said.
“They are a solid team that are a tough nut to crack for most sides. We are therefore delighted to be able to leave here with five points.”