Sharks won’t pay R1 million transfer fee for ’free agent’ Siya Kolisi
DURBAN - Springbok captain Siya Kolisi could be a Shark as early as next week, but there will be no R1 million transfer fee.
Kolisi’s contract with Western Province ends on October 31 but because he is set to join the Sharks far sooner, WP are asking for a R1 million transfer fee – but Sharks chief executive Ed Coetzee says this is not going to happen.
Coetzee said: “No, we will not be paying a transfer fee. We are in advanced and very positive negotiations with Siya — his goals regarding his career are aligned with our goals as a team — but we are not going to pay WP a fee.
“Siya’s early release from WP is a matter between him and the union, and we are negotiating with him as a free agent. We would like to have the Springbok captain here in Durban, and we will take him when he sorts out his release from WP, but we will not pay a transfer fee,” Coetzee reiterated.
There has been speculation that Kolisi would be joining the Sharks from the moment MVM Holdings bought a controlling share in the Sharks.
When the American consortium first expressed an interest in rugby in South Africa, they first approached the Stormers and Marco Masotti, the head of MVM, has said the Stormers were their first port of call because they identified the massive marketing potential of the World Cup-winning captain.
Kolisi is also on the books of powerful worldwide marketing group Roc Nation, who have partnered with the Sharks as part of the MVM deal.
Also, one of the prominent partners in MVM is Vincent Mai, a former Port Elizabethan now living in New York, who has a strong relationship with Kolisi, having sponsored his bursary to attend Grey High in PE.
But MVM and WP could not strike a deal, and the Americans switched their attention to Jonsson Kings Park, where they were welcomed with open arms. Unquestionably, the movement of Kolisi to the Sharks would have been on the table when MVM and the Sharks bartered their deal.
Kolisi, meanwhile, has had a difficult year on the playing field. He has had injuries and his form has been a long way off the way he played in leading the Boks to their World Cup triumph in Japan.
Earlier this week, in an interview with Red Bull, he hinted of a move to a new team when he spoke of “wanting a fresh start”. Coetzee said that the Sharks would do everything in their power to assist Kolisi to recapture his best form.
“Any player who signs for the Sharks is ensured a positive environment,” Coetzee said. “We would do for Siya what we do for any other signings — we will treat him and his family unbelievably well.”
Meanwhile, Coetzee says it appears that South Africa’s rugby players will be back in action in March in an as-yet-unnamed competition that will replace what was the Franchise Cup featuring the four former Super Rugby teams plus the Cheetahs.
The new competition, which is essentially to be used to prepare the Bulls, Stormers, Sharks and Lions for the Rainbow Cup (the SA teams plus Europe’s PRO 14 teams), will include the Cheetahs, Eastern Province, the Pumas and Griquas.
The Rainbow Cup is planned to start on April 17, depending on the international Covid-19 situation.