Cape Town - Cheetahs flyhalf Sias Ebersohn has voiced his frustration at coach Naka Drotské's apparent lack of faith in him as No 1 flyhalf, saying he simply had no choice to leave Bloemfontein.
News broke on Tuesday that Ebersohn signed a two-year contract with the Perth-based Force.
The 23-year old will head for Australia after the Currie Cup season to join the Force as their overseas development player.
Drotské also confirmed the news on Tuesday.
"Following extensive negotiations with Sias Ebersohn's agent Gerrie Swart, both the Free State Cheetahs Union and I have decided to free Sias from his contract in 2013," said Drotské.
"Sias feels he'd like more exposure to rugby at the highest level and the opportunity the Western Force is offering him will be a step in the right direction for him as a player in order to achieve those goals. We didn't wish to stand in his way and thus have released him from his contract next year. We wish him all the best for his future and thank him for the role he played at the Cheetahs."
Ebersohn has struggled to hold down the No 1 flyhalf spot at the Cheetahs this season, with Johan Goosen making the position his own. However, when Goosen was ruled out of the Super Rugby competition a few weeks ago due to a shoulder injury, Ebersohn was expected to take centre stage.
But he failed to live up to expectations, missing a crucial kick at the death against the Highlanders in Bloemfontein and then playing a poor first half against the Stormers at Newlands, which prompted Drotské to utilise Riaan Smit at pivot.
Ebersohn on Tuesday told Bloemfontein radio station OFM he is somewhat bitter about the Drotské's decision to drop him.
“I waited a long time for my chance at the Cheetahs and then suddenly (Johan) Goosen was on the scene and when he got injured, I was suddenly replaced by Riaan Smit - in my three years at the franchise I never competed with Riaan for a place and it seems that the chances that other players are given, were never given to me. It's sad but at some point you have to look at yourself.
“It isn’t in my hands. I am not the coach and it was always Naka’s decision. As a player I will always give my best and this move won’t influence the way I play. It is disappointing to leave, especially when you realise they aren’t interested in you.
“I had high expectations of the season, and things didn’t always go as I wanted them to go. But there were promises of playing time made that never materialised. Goosen had a good season and I am a player who plays not for money, but rather to enjoy the game. You can never get better unless you are backed and you improve on the field. Luckily this lesson has happened early in my career and I can learn from it.”
He feels he should have been backed after some erratic performances, hinting at how the Bulls have shown faith in their flyhalf Morné Steyn.
“Morné has had - by his standards - one of the poorest kicking seasons of his career but he still plays and the team still backs him. I never played enough to get my selfconfidence on a high and without those opportunities, you get rusty, you get “vrot”. You need to play to keep in form.”
Ebersohn also said he simply couldn't refuse the offer from the Force.
“The Force approached me and I never spoke to them first. They said they think I am a good player and they want me as their No 1 flyhalf. What player in my position wouldn’t grab that opportunity.
“I learnt a lot in my time here, and not just on the field, but life lessons as well, especially from Hawies (Hawies Fourie, Cheetahs backline coach). My time here was good but there were many decisions that should have gone my way, many team selections that went against me.”