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Sharks CEO addresses Itoje and Kolbe rumours

By Ian Cameron
Maro Itoje (Photo by Dan Mullan - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

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The CEO of South African franchise the Sharks has addressed rumours linking Springbok winger Cheslin Kolbe and England lock Maro Itoje with the Durban based side.


Since being taken over by American sports management fund MVM, rumours have been circulating over which players are on the side’s shopping list. The US consortium have made no bones about wanting to turn the Sharks into a global rugby force, nor their need to attract the world’s biggest rugby stars to the franchise.

The rumour mill went into overdrive this week following confirmation of the much-reported signing of Springboks captain Siya Kolisi from the Stormers, with Sharks fans hoping his addition is just the first of many big-names to jump ship to Durban.

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Roc Nation Sports represent Kolisi’s interests and their involvement in the takeover has led many to join the dots on who else the Sharks might be eyeing up. The Jay Z owned talent agency currently have Kolbe and Itoje on their books, leading some to surmise that the pair could be next.

However, Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee has poured cold water on the rumours in a radio interview with East Coast radio in South Africa.

“Out of the two, which one is coming? Neither of them are coming,” said Coetzee.

Host Sky Tshabalala then asked if Kolbe is not coming now, could he come? “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,” quipped Coetzee.

While fans might be getting excited it is hard to see either Itoje or Kolbe being lured away from lucrative European contracts. Even if Kolbe leaving Toulouse to return to his native South Africa seems somewhat plausible, the idea of Itoje leaving Saracens and simultaneously turning his back on England selection at the age of 26 seems unlikely in the extreme.

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Sharks CEO addresses Itoje and Kolbe rumours