Bone Collector on his way
CEO John Smit confirmed yesterday that burly Springbok flank Willem Alberts will be leaving the Sharks at the end of the Super Rugby season.
The 120 kg Alberts will be joining Stade Français in Paris but the Sharks have the perfect replacement in the destructive Jacques Potgieter, their recent signing from the Waratahs.
Alberts (31) moved to Durban late in 2010 and has since played 70 Super Rugby games for the Sharks and won 32 Test caps. An uncompromising backrow forward, and known as the “Bone Collector”, Alberts has been inflicted as much damage on himself as he has on opponents over the past two years and he has played only a handful of games.
Potgieter is built on similar lines to Alberts, and has the same no-nonsense approach, but he is two years younger and has not been as plagued by injury in recent times.
Smit told The Witness yesterday that Alberts is “on his way”, adding that he is currently in talks with Springbok flank Marcell Coetzee and Test loosehead Beast Mtawarira but is confident of signing them “shortly”.
The return of Mtawarira would be an unexpected boost for the Sharks. The big loosehead said last season that he would definitely be moving to France af-ter the Rugby World Cup in September but he has clearly undergone a change of heart. Mtawariria is a crowd favourite at King’s Park and, perhaps because the World Cup is looming, he has started showing signs of his old form in recent weeks.
Smit appears resigned to losing the Du Plessis brothers, Bismarck and Jannie, after the World Cup.
There have been numerous reports in recent years that the brothers are to leave Durban, but they have played on, determined to remain close to their ill father and the family farm near Bethlehem.
However, Smit said yesterday that the brothers’ plans were a “mystery”.
“We did make them two offers earlier in the year but they have not responded, so I guess that tells a story.”
With coach Jake White frantically shopping for South Africans, Montpellier claim that they have signed the pair.
Bismarck du Plessis, one of the leading hookers in world rugby, joined the Sharks in 2005 with tighthead Jannie, a medical doctor, joining him in Durban three years later.
Smit did have some good news yesterday, confirming that young Springbok halfbacks Pat Lambie and Cobus Reinach, along with abrasive backrower Jean Deysel, had committed themselves to the Sharks and signed contracts.
“We are still busy negotiating with Frans Steyn, who wants to stay, and we are waiting to hear what JP Pietersen’s plans are,” said Smit