It’s been a testing year for the Sharks, as the Durban-based franchise have had to say goodbye to a number of their most valuable players.
The quintet of Coenie Oosthuizen, Akker van der Merwe and brothers Robert, Jean-Luc and Dan du Preez have all headed to Sale Sharks, with Steve Diamond having raided his club’s namesake in South Africa mercilessly this summer. Philip van der Walt is also off to Newcastle Falcons and Andre Esterhuizen is set for a stint in Japan.
Post-Rugby World Cup exoduses are nothing new to South African rugby, however, as the nation’s Super Rugby and Guinness PRO14 franchises have become accustomed to significant outgoings each season.
The news isn’t all doom and gloom in Durban, though, with the Sharks, according to Rapport, in the frame to sign Cheetahs and Springbok loosehead prop Ox Nche.
Nche has reportedly been tabbed as the long-term replacement for Tendai Mtawarira at the franchise and the Sharks will be helped out with his salary by SA Rugby, with Nche considered as a Player of National Interest under the new contracting model in South African rugby.
Losing Nche will come as a major blow for the Cheetahs, with the 24-year-old having established himself as one of their most important players over the past couple of seasons. The move would also highlight the problems that the Cheetahs and Kings have retaining players when the four bigger unions from Super Rugby turn their attentions towards players in the Free State and Eastern Province.
Should the move to the Sharks go ahead, Nche could find himself partnering Thomas du Toit in the Sharks front row, with the pair having lined up together for the South African U20s in 2015, the year that du Toit made the move to tighthead.
Watch: Sharks coach Sean Everitt speaks to the media ahead of his side’s latest Currie Cup game
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