World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi has ended his 11-year stay with South Africa’s Stormers and is expected to be unveiled by the Durban-based Sharks in the coming week.
The move has long been mooted, with Western Province Rugby confirming on Sunday they had released Kolisi early from his contract, which was due to expire at the end of October, having accepted a transfer fee from an unnamed team.
The loose forward is the second-most capped player for the team in Super Rugby with 118 appearances, just behind Schalk Burger (123), though the Cape Town-based side and the Sharks will compete in Europe’s PRO14 competition from 2021.
Kolisi, 29, captained the Springboks to their 2019 Rugby World Cup triumph and is a hugely popular figure in the country with a rags-to-riches story.
His move to Durban follows the acquisition in January of a 51 per cent stake in the Sharks by a United States consortium, MVM Holdings, that is headed by South African-born New York attorney Marco Masotti.
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Erasmus: SA don’t want to lose out on Lions series
South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus insists the Springboks will do whatever it takes to make the British & Irish Lions series happen.
The coronavirus pandemic has placed the tour’s original schedule in doubt, with three contingency plans being looked at if, as expected, it fails to take place in full stadiums in South Africa.
The options being examined are to postpone it until next year, host it in the UK and Ireland or keep the existing itinerary but stage the matches behind closed doors.
Erasmus, the Springboks’ 2019 World Cup-winning coach, is open to all eventualities as long as the event actually takes place.
“We desperately want to play the Lions, and we will do anything to play them,” he told an online press conference last month.
“This series only comes around every 12 years. I have heard the different calls and opinions about the tour, and although we didn’t play in the Rugby Championship because of player welfare, it was also because we knew there was this big series in 2021.
“If option one of playing in South Africa doesn’t work out, we will go to option Z to make it happen.
“We don’t want to lose out on the Lions series, we feel we deserve to play against them. I want to, (head coach) Jacques Nienaber wants to, the players want to. So from our side, we’ll do anything.
“But, yes, we will explore any option to play the Lions – we will play next year, we will play over there. This is the view from a player and management perspective.”
Talks among the Lions’ eight-man board are ongoing and a decision will be made this month.
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