Plumtree staying at Sharks

2010-01-18 21:52
John Plumtree (Gallo Images)
Stephen Nell

Cape Town – The Sharks have dismissed rumours linking coach John Plumtree with the Hurricanes, while confirming that new acquisitions Willem Alberts and Louis Ludik will be considered for the pre-season tournament against the Stormers and Western Force.

It was reported from New Zealand over the weekend that Plumtree is a candidate to coach the Hurricanes from next year. However, Sharks chief executive Brian van Zyl on Monday effectively put an end to this speculation.

“I spoke to John about it and he has not had contact with anyone from New Zealand for months,” said Van Zyl.

“We have spoken to him about extending his contract. He will have time off in the Currie Cup and we’re going to assist him with up-skilling. We would not have agreed to something like that if we weren’t confident of him extending his contract.”

Van Zyl said that Plumtree had requested an extension of two years on his contract as Sharks coach. That will probably mean that his new deal runs until the end of 2013.

“I believe it will be a formality,” Van Zyl said of the extension.

When asked whether Plumtree’s time off later this year will mean that someone else coaches the Sharks in the Currie Cup, Van Zyl said that there was not certainty on the issue as yet.

“It hasn’t been finalised. John will never remove himself from the team completely and will still oversee matters,” said Van Zyl.

Meanwhile, the fact that clearance certificates have not been issued by the Lions for Alberts and Ludik will not prevent them from playing for the Sharks in pre-season games or even the Super14.

“They will be part of the squad if they are picked. These are friendlies and not played under SA Rugby,” said Van Zyl.

“We have asked SA Rugby to take a stance on the matter. The Lions are just not releasing them (Alberts and Ludik). We are paying the players, not them.”

Cape Town-based attorney Frikkie Erasmus confirmed on Monday that he had written to SA Rugby on behalf of the Sharks with regards to the dispute between the Sharks and Lions about the release of Alberts and Ludik, and their participation in the Super14.

“The Super14 is a SANZAR competition with its own code of conduct and disciplinary procedures. SA Rugby’s regulations are only relevant in competitions that fall under them,” said Erasmus.

“A clearance certificate is not a prerequisite for a player’s participation in the Super14. Nothing prevents the Sharks from playing them in the Super14.”

Alberts and Ludik apparently have similar contracts to Jaque Fourie, who left the Lions after a protracted legal dispute to join Western Province.

“There has been a precedent,” Van Zyl said in reference to the Fourie-case.

The Stormers and Force play the first game in the Neo Africa Tri-series at Newlands on Saturday. After that the Sharks and Force play at Newlands on January 26. The final fixture is the one between the Stormers and Sharks on January 29.


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