Sharks boss rubbishes links to England lock Maro Itoje


Sharks Rugby CEO Eduard Coetzee has dismissed rumours that the franchise are attempting to recruit England lock Maro Itoje.

Coetzee was dismissive regarding a potential move for Itoje, who would effectively need to give up his England career to make a permanent move to the Sharks.

The only basis for the link is that Itoje is signed to Roc Nation agency who have recently struck up a partnership with the Sharks due to their association with MVM Holdings the new majority shareholder of the Durban-based team.

Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi, who recently joined the Sharks in a blockbuster move is also signed to the agency which lent credence to the suggestion other talents on Roc Nations books might be headed to South Africa’s east coast.

A connection that seems far more likely to come to fruition is one with Cheslin Kolbe but Coetzee poured cold water on that too, suggesting the Sharks are adequately stocked in the wing department with Rugby World Cup-winners Sbu Nkosi, and Makazole Mapimpi contracted to the Black and White Dynamite. The Sharks also have promising outside back Yaw Penxe in their ranks although they have allowed former Lions utility back Madosh Tambwe to move to the Bulls.

Kolbe not Durban-bound

“Out of the two, which one is coming? Neither of them are coming,” said Coetzee in an interview with East Coast Radio.

When pressed on the possibility of seeing Kolbe return to South African rugby in a Sharks’ jersey, Coetzee said: “I don’t think so. If you look at our back line, and you’re a rugby man through and through, you’d know that Sbu Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi both went on the same business class section to the World Cup. They brought the same World Cup back.

“So the need for them to come [Kolbe and Itjoe] is maybe not as pressing as you might feel, but I’m glad to know that you know how to surf the internet.”

Sharks will look to strengthen

In an interview with Sport24, Coetzee said that the Sharks will be looking to strengthen their tight five as a point of urgency, but wouldn’t name any targets.

“After every competition we look at our shortcomings, especially now that we are going to Europe,” said Coetzee.

“We are aware that we need to bolster our tight five. We saw that our depth got exposed in the Currie Cup.

“When first-choice front rowers weren’t there it was problematic. Our number four enforcer was a 21-year-old (JJ van der Mescht).”

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