WP coach addresses transfer rumours – including Siya Kolisi off to Sharks

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Western Province coach John Dobson has responded to reports that a number of his players are being targeted by other clubs – both locally and abroad.

READ | WP CHANGE 7 FOR MUST-WIN PUMAS CURRIE CUP CLASH

With a number of WP’s players off contract after next year’s British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa there are naturally plenty of transfer rumours swirling.

The biggest of which concerns WP and Springbok skipper, Siya Kolisi.

With reports investment deal talks between WP Rugby and MVM Holdings have broken down and amid fresh reports the American consortium is now eyeing a partnership with the Sharks, Kolisi’s name has been dragged into the mix.

The link may be tenuous at best, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

MVM Holdings member Michael Yormark, who met with WP Rugby, is also the president of Roc Nation International’s sports division. Kolisi is a high-profile Roc Nation representative.

Should a deal with the Sharks be struck, would MVM Holdings want their star representative playing for the opposition?

You get the potential problem, right?

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Meanwhile, reports of WP fullback/flyhalf Damian Willemse being hunted by the Bulls have not gone away.

Willemse, born and bred in the Cape, has struggled to find a permanent spot at either 15 or 10 in the WP and Stormers line-ups. Could Jake White convince him to move to Loftus Versfeld?

Watch this space!

BIG-MONEY SCOTLAND INVESTMENT

Dobson also confirmed that promising young lock David Meihuizen is the subject of a big-money investment as a future Scotland second-rower.

Somewhat worrying for WP fans, in an online media conference on Wednesday, Dobson wasn’t in a position to out-right rubbish any of the reports.

‘There is a lot of rumour at the moment and there is a lot of smoke,’ Dobson said.

‘There is so much smoke that you suspect there must be a fire. Nobody has told me officially that they are going anywhere yet.

Dobson cited the fact the transfer window isn’t open as a reason players either haven’t approached him or haven’t signed elsewhere.

‘I know that Harlequins are after a couple of our forwards. There was an article (this week) about Siya being in demand elsewhere in South Africa. There is the perpetual rumour about Damian Willemse to the Bulls. There is a lot of smoke, but the window isn’t open for those players for another couple of months.’

Dobson confirmed he had spoken briefly to Kolisi who asked to put talks on hold until after Friday’s Currie Cup clash against the Pumas.

‘Siya is our leader. I literally asked Siya (on Tuesday) if we need to have a chat and he said, “Let’s get through Friday”, which is the responsible and mature thing. I don’t think there is anything formal. There can be nothing formal until the contracting window starts. At this stage, I would think the Siya thing is just smoke.’

However, Dobson did appear resigned to losing Meihuizen to either Scotland or potentially England.

‘David is different. He’s not a guy trying to run off his contract. He has got to make a call on his future. Obviously, I haven’t explored it in detail yet, but he is eligible for England and Scotland. He is in high demand from Scotland. There have been informal approaches via his agent. In Scotland, if you get a 2.08m and 123kg player, that’s a big unit. I know he qualifies for England and Scotland.’

When questioned whether all the transfer talk was a disruptive influence on the team and possibly contributed to WP losing their opening two Currie Cup matches, Dobson disagreed.

‘In answer to the question, it isn’t disruptive. The only formal chat I have had is with David and that’s because Scotland are offering him an absolute fortune and he is a guy we want to keep here.’

WP COMING OFF 2 SUCCESSIVE DEFEATS

WP head into Friday’s match against the Pumas at Newlands under pressure after two successive defeats to the Bulls (home) and Lions (away).

The face a must-win match against the Pumas if they are to maintain realistic hopes of reaching the tournament’s semi-finals.

The Bulls are runaway leaders of the tournament and at this early stage appear to have already sewn up a home semi-final.

The Sharks (24 points) lie in second spot having played one match fewer than the Bulls and third-place WP (21 points).

WP have the Lions (20 points) breathing down their necks, while the Cheetahs (17 points with a game in hand) are also fighting hard for a playoff spot.

Kick-off on Friday is at 19:00.

IN CLOSING | SPRINGBOKS END YEAR AS NO 1 SIDE

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