Cape Town - Sharks coach Robert du Preez has reportedly come under fire for his management style, as well as his reluctance to pick Springbok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle.
Ralepelle, who featured on the bench for the Springboks in their final two Rugby Championship Tests, was unable to crack a nod in the Sharks’ Currie Cup match-day squad upon his return to provincial duty for the latter stages of the Currie Cup.
Du Preez picked Franco Marais as his starting hooker, with Akker van der Merwe on the bench.
According to the Sunday Times, Ralepelle was unhappy with his omission and took up the issue with Du Preez, before a high-level meeting took place to address the matter.
The newspaper reported that there is apparently also unrest over certain aspects of Du Preez's management style and the manner in which he addresses players.
Sharks communications manager Novashni Chetty said a meeting was held with Ralepelle to engage with him on the matter.
“Our policy is always to be open and transparent with our players. Our head coach leads by example and our environment demands a strong work ethic, respect for each other and our jersey,” said Chetty.
Last month, after not including Ralepelle in his squad ahead of the Currie Cup semi-final against the Blue Bulls, Du Preez explained:
"There have been quite a few tough selection poses, but we think that the team that we've selected is the team that's in form," Du Preez said.
"It was a tough decision. At the end of the day we just felt that Chili hasn't played a lot of rugby and Akker has been the in-form guy. He's been playing really well. We know that he'll make a great impact off the bench."
The 31-year-old Ralepelle has played 22 Tests for the Springboks, but was used as a substitute in 20 of his international appearances.
He represented the Bulls between 2006 and 2013, before joining Toulouse in France.
There he tested positive for the use of steroids in 2014 and was banned for two years, before receiving a lifeline at the Sharks.