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Tug-of-war over Sarel Pretorius

2011-06-09 08:27
Sarel Pretorius (Gallo Images)
Hendrik Cronjé

Bloemfontein - Sarel Pretorius could make rugby history by becoming the first South African player to represent an overseas team in Super Rugby and play for a local team in the Currie Cup.

Sport24 understands that it's almost certain that Pretorius will play for the Waratahs from 2012, but there is a lot of uncertainty about which team the scrumhalf will represent in this and next year's Currie Cup.

Sport24 can reveal that there have been negotiations between Free State and Griquas over Pretorius's services for this year's Currie Cup.

Griquas apparently initially agreed to release Pretorius to Free State before this year's tournament, but the Free State camp were informed on Monday that Pretorius will stay in Kimberley for this year at least and that the matter is "non-negotiable".

Prior to Monday, Free State were believed to be willing to withdraw legal action against Griquas over a R1.2-million transfer free for Bulls wing Bjorn Basson.

Sport24 understands that the Cheetahs Company had earlier sued Griquas for 60% of the transfer fee paid by the Bulls.

Basson was believed to be a Category 'A' player of the Cheetahs, with 60% of his salary paid by the Cheetahs Company.

Free State were apparently willing to withdraw the legal action if Pretorius was released to them ahead of this year's Currie Cup.

Free State apparently also followed the correct route in negotiating with Pretorius after it became known that the outstanding Mo 9 was seeking greener pastures.

The Free State Rugby Union (FSRU) did not want to say much about the sensitive issue on Wednesday.

"The relationship between Free State, the Griffons and Griquas is as good as it's ever been. While there are still difficult matters to resolve and handle, there is no suggestion of court cases or such actions at this stage," the FSRU said in a short statement to Sport24.

"The business and affairs (of the franchise) are discussed and handled in board meetings. We will not be making any comment about any issue at this stage.

"As far as player contracts are concerned, there are negotiations with players to remain in the region and at unions."

Griquas also did not want to reveal much about the issue on Wednesday.

"All I can say is that Sarel is contracted with us until the end of October 2011 and that he won't be released to anybody. He will play for Griquas until at least after the 2011 Currie Cup," said Griquas chief executive Arni van Rooyen.

Read more on:    super 15  |  sarel pretorius

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