Sharks: SA Rugby acted too slow to keep Reinach
Cape Town - The Sharks feel SA Rugby was not pro-active enough in order prevent scrumhalf Cobus Reinach from leaving South Africa.
This comes after English club Northampton Saints earlier this week announced the signing of the Springbok No 9.
The 27-year-old will join the Saints from the Durban-based Sharks, where he has played his entire career to date.
Reinach will join his new team after the completion of this year’s Super Rugby competition, in time for the 2017/18 European season.
But the Sharks are not happy to see Reinach leave and have expressed their disappointment in SA Rugby.
According to an article published in Friday’s The Mercury newspaper, the Sharks had approached SA Rugby to try and find a way to keep Reinach in the country, but that the national body had failed to act in time.
“I wish SA Rugby had come on board in our negotiations with Cobus four weeks earlier,” the Sharks' chiefs operations officer Eduard Coetzee said.
According to Coetzee, Reinach wanted to stay in Durban but needed reassurance that there was a plan for him within South African rugby.
“They should have just picked up the phone and reassured Cobus. They spoke a lot about how important he was to their cause to me, but not to Cobus. They also said they would try and help match his overseas offer, but they were too late.”
Reinach reportedly had not heard from SA Rugby or a national since he was omitted from the 2015 World Cup squad. His last Test for the Springboks was against Argentina in Buenos Aires in August 2015 and he missed the best part of 2016 due to injury.
SA Rugby eventually came to the party, saying it would make an offer to match Northampton’s one, but by then Reinach had already signed for the English club.
The Saints were also interested in signing flyhalf Pat Lambie, but SA Rugby was able to convince the Springbok pivot to stay.
Sharks CEO Gary Teichmann also expressed his thoughts on the matter, saying it was extremely frustrating that certain "amateur structures" in SA Rugby, and a lack of clarity and communication, continued to contribute to such situations.
"There is no vision for the Springboks. When Cobus was negotiating his contract, he did not even know who the Bok coach was going to be. How can he make an informed decision on his future if SA Rugby don’t even know their own direction? SARU need to make the hard decisions, especially about overseas Boks," Teichmann said.
Reinach, meanwhile, is now looking forward to the new chapter in his life.
"I’m delighted and excited to be joining Northampton," he told the Saints’ official website.
"It is a club with a long tradition and strong values and I’m really looking forward to playing at Franklin’s Gardens and being in their environment.
"Saints have some outstanding players in their squad and I knew after speaking with the coaches that it was a club that I wanted to play for.
"I want to thank everyone at the Sharks for all they’ve done for me in my career, and I’m 100 percent committed to them until the end of the season. I’m looking forward to the Super Rugby campaign and hopefully finishing on a high note with the Sharks and regaining my place in the Springboks’ squad."