Stormers head coach John Dobson is not expecting the franchise to lose squad members despite the strong links suggesting Pieter-Steph du Toit is highly sought after by overseas clubs, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Last week, Dobson told this website they were aware of the talk doing the rounds regarding Du Toit, who was strongly linked to a lucrative offer from French club Montpellier, but was also believed to have garnered interest from more than one other overseas club.
In a Zoom media conference held from Cape Town on Tuesday, the Stormers coach provided an update on this subject, saying he remained confident there would be no major exits from the coastal franchise.
‘I’ve had no indication of anyone wanting to leave, and so my feeling is that everyone is staying.’
It has been a particularly nervous time for the franchises as they wait to see if any of their players opt to exercise a controversial 21-day escape clause that forms part of a collective bargaining agreement implemented as the coronavirus pandemic took its toll on the SA rugby industry.
That window closes on 14 May and although Dobson suggested they actually didn’t believe this clause was particularly enforceable, he reiterated his belief the Stormers would retain their squad at this time.
‘I’ve talked to a lot of the players and agents … There are ethical and other concerns around it [the clause], but our view is that even if our players exercised that option, we’d actually regard those contracts [with us] to still be in place.
‘And if someone was to phone us up and exercise the exit clause on the 13th at the last minute [without saying anything before that], he’d be making a massive breach of the rugby trust and squad spirit we’ve built up. He really wouldn’t be leaving with his reputation intact if someone was to take us right to the wire and then leave without even having a conversation about his future at the union and so on.
‘Rugby is meant to be about fair play and fraternity, anybody feasting on the carcasses of others trying to adapt to the impact of the coronavirus would be nothing short of exploitation,’ Dobson added.
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