As increasingly suspected, Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi is expected to complete the move from the Stormers to the Sharks, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
As reported in Rapport on Sunday, and as per the independent understanding of this website, it’s believed that it will only be a matter of time before Mbonambi confirms he will be taking up a contract at the Sharks.
Several weeks ago, the 30-year-old had indicated a clear intent to stay with the Stormers, but he was subsequently linked with the prospect of becoming the next rugby star to join the well-known Roc Nation Sports agency.
With Mbonambi delaying putting pen to paper on a WP Rugby contract extension, it also led to growing suspicion that he could be set to follow in Siya Kolisi’s footsteps by heading to the Sharks.
It was speculated that a decision may only be finalised after the British & Irish Lions tour, but it’s understood that a decision has been taken, and the 30-year-old’s move up the east coast is now expected to be a fait accompli.
A couple of weeks ago, whispers from Cape corridors suggested that they felt the likelihood was 70-30 in favour of Mbonambi leaving the Stormers, and due diligence has already been conducted as they prepared for the possibility of moving forward without the experienced hooker.
Serious consideration has turned to exploring the possibility of luring either Japan-based Malcolm Marx or Bordeaux’s Joseph Dweba to Cape Town next year. Meanwhile, Scarra Ntubeni recently signed a contract extension, while JJ Kotze, Andre-Hugo Venter and Chad Solomon offer other options.
Nevertheless, the expected signing of Mbonambi will be a considerable coup for the Sharks, who will welcome another World Cup winner to Durban.
Although the Sharks have been well-stocked with young hookers such as Fez Mbatha, Dylan Richardson and Kerron van Vuuren, they have been looking to strengthen their tight five with some more experience and firepower.
It doesn’t come much better than adding Mbonambi to their options at hooker, with the World Cup star having become one of the most highly-regarded players in world rugby, while he was highly sought after by many overseas clubs.
Yet, it will be a major boost for the Sharks and Springboks that he will continue to play his rugby in South Africa.