Rugby

Lions-Sharks in player spat

2010-01-20 11:06
Louis Ludik: Lions or Sharks? (File)
Pieter Jordaan

Johannesburg – The contractual dispute between the Lions and Sharks about who has the right to pick Willem Alberts and Louis Ludik is threatening to turn into a crisis for the players and the teams.

In fact, it may be months before Alberts and Ludik can play if the dispute is not resolved soon.

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) said on Tuesday that the players may not play for the Sharks until they have received clearance certificates from the Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU). This includes friendly fixtures, as well as the Super 14.

Ludik is still injured, but this ruling will prevent Alberts from playing for the Sharks in the Neo Africa Tri-Series friendlies against the Western Force and Stormers in Cape Town next week.

The two players started training with the Sharks towards the end of last year and the Sharks had hoped that their contracts would be declared null and void.

However, the GLRU dispute the Sharks’ view that there are no contracts and maintain that they are Lions players.

Last year, a similar contractual dispute between the GLRU and Western Province over the services of Jaque Fourie ended in arbitration.

However, it took months for the matter to be resolved and during that time Fourie played for no other union.

Sharks chief executive Brian van Zyl wanted to call on SA Rugby this week to demand clearance certificates from the GLRU as the Sharks have already paid the players.

However, SARU legal manager Christo Ferreira ruled out the notion that the governing body would get involved.

“Our regulations state that a player may not play for a new province in a friendly game or competition prior to being released by his previous union,” said Ferreira.

Meanwhile, 23-year-old Ludik has said that it will be another “week or two” before he can train with the Sharks.

He sustained a serious knee injury in the Lions’ match against the touring British and Irish Lions.

“I will probably be able to play in about a month’s time, but will first play Vodacom Cup rugby to sharpen up. But I’m hungry to play again. When I started running again a month or so ago, it was nice just to be able to play around with the ball again.”

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