Stormers coach John Dobson has emphatically stated that Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi remains committed to the Cape franchise until at least the end of October 2021. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
A report emerged over the weekend where Vodacom Bulls director of rugby Jake White admitted there was interest in acquiring the services of the World Cup winner, but Dobson moved to emphatically insist Mbonambi remained contracted and committed to the Stormers.
In particular, the Stormers coach reiterated there was no such alleged clause that could allow him to exit his contract earlier.
‘On the Bongi Mbonambi story, I can once again state categorically that he has no ‘get out’ clause after Super Rugby in 2020 as reported. He is contracted until 31 October 2021, but he could activate an escape clause after Super Rugby or the British & Irish Lions tour next year.
‘I think it’s best I quote the player himself, and this is what he says today: “Just to set the record straight, I am committed to the Stormers until late 2021. The Bulls have made contact via my agent, but no decisions have been made.”‘
The Stormers coach also moved to passionately dispel widespread reports that Pieter-Steph du Toit had specifically received a mega-money offer from French club Montpellier.
‘I was intricately involved in those negotiations, and I can categorically state that reported offer [from Montpellier] never existed.’
Dobson added there should be cause for positivity after the Stormers managed to maintain the majority of their squad despite a 21-day exit window that allowed players to opt out of their contracts in favour of an overseas offer should they so wish.
‘I think we’ve done very well, given the profile of Boks who were on the market, to retain them during the exit window. Particularly from the point of view of our Springboks, I think we have escaped pretty much unscathed.
‘That achievement is good for rugby in the region and the national game. We need domestic rugby to remain strong, and in that regard it’s important to retain our top players. Given the difficult circumstances, I’m thrilled at the commitment of the existing squad, the union, and the players, both in terms of their training in lockdown and outreach work.’