Vodacom Super 14

Butch: Sharks embarrassed me

2010-05-06 22:30
Butch James (AFP)
Christo Buchner

Johannesburg – Springbok flyhalf Butch James has slammed the Sharks for wrecking his chances of playing in next year’s World Cup.

In an interview with the Bath Chronicle, James slammed the Sharks for the “scandalous” manner in which they conducted their negotiations with him about a possible return to Durban.

James said the fact that the Sharks had suddenly stopped negotiations made him “look like an idiot to my club (Bath) and team-mates”.

The contract for him to play for the Sharks again had been completed in March, but fell through at the last minute when the South African province withdrew from negotiations. The Sharks were not prepared to pay the substantial transfer fee that Bath had demanded for James.

There were still two years left on his three-year contract at Bath, but he decided to follow his heart and return to the Sharks after they pleaded with him to re-join them.

“I don’t know where the negotiations broke down, but it was very embarrassing for me,” said the 31-year-old James.

“The Sharks handled it in a scandalous manner. I have no problem with the way Bath conducted themselves. They were always upfront with me, but from a Sharks point of view the negotiations were one big embarrassment.

“The door was just suddenly closed from their side. It put me in a difficult position. It was 90% certain that I would return home and I was eager to play for them again. All of a sudden the rug was pulled from underneath me and I’m not happy about it at all.”

Sharks chief executive Brian van Zyl said in his reaction that James had approached them about a possible return in December. He said Bath wanted to know what transfer fee the Sharks were prepared to pay.

“We were not prepared to pay a transfer fee because we weren’t paid one when Butch went to Bath. What is also strange is that Butch indicated how much he’d like to play for the Sharks again, but then extended his contract with Bath for another two years. He also wanted to be paid a ridiculous amount of money to return to Durban,” said Van Zyl.

He added that James’ comments were ridiculous as there had not been any further negotiations.

The Sharks were criticised from inside their own ranks last week about contracting when coach John Plumtree slammed the offer to English fly-half Andy Goode.

There were also problems with the contracts of Juan Martin Hernandez and Steve Meyer. As a result the Sharks’ fly-half woes have simply not subsided.

Read more on:    sharks  |  butch james

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