Durban - The Sharks have granted Springbok captain Siya Kolisi an early release from his contract and he will join French club Racing 92 after the 2023 Rugby World in September.
Kolisi joined the Sharks in 2021 on a five-year deal but has subsequently decided to play out his career in France where he can enjoy quality time with his family away from the South African spotlight.
The Sharks have chosen not to stand in his way and while they are likely to benefit from a healthy transfee fee paid by the Parisian club, it is more about them respecting the wishes of a player who has made an impressive impact at the Shark Tank.
Kolisi delivered a mighty Man of the Match performance last week against the Bulls and the good news for Sharks fans is that he will continue to play for the Sharks in the Heineken Cup and the United Rugby Championship this year.
The Sharks have made no secret of the fact that they are heavily focused on the Heineken Cup, arguably the world’s premier rugby competition, and with their handsome host of Springboks available for this competition, there is no reason why Kolisi cannot finish his career at the Sharks with the high of hoisting the Heineken Cup.
Interestingly, the Sharks and Racing 92 are entering into a broader collaboration which is hoped to include the sharing of players as well as coaching ideas.
This is part of the vision of the American owners at the Sharks, Marco Masotti’s MVM Holdings, to grow the Sharks brand in Europe and North American leading up to the 2031 Rugby World Cup.
The 31-year-old Kolisi will leave a positive impact on the Sharks thanks to his mentorship of younger players and for his involvement in the launch of the Players First programme at the Sharks which is about looking after player welfare on and off the pitch.
Sharks CEO Ed Coetzee said Kolisi will leave with the union with its blessing.
“Siya’s move to France is a new and exciting opportunity and we could not be happier for him. We are blessed to have had him and we know that over the next few months, he will continue to give back to the team and our fans.”
Kolisi expressed his gratitude to both the Sharks and Racing 92.
“It has been an incredible collaborative effort between the Sharks and Racing 92 that has enabled me to start a new chapter in my career. I want to give a massive thanks to the Sharks for welcoming me with open arms in 2021 while their support over the last couple of years has been hugely influential during a key period in my career.
“I am immensely appreciative that the Sharks have given me their blessing to make this move, and it goes without saying that I will continue to give my all for the team over the next few months.”