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Sharks still circling Sharks after De Jager deal falls through

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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The Cell C Sharks are said to still be circling their Gallagher Premiership namesakes – Sale Sharks – even after a deal that would see Lood de Jager return to South Africa appears to have fallen through.

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De Jager was heavily linked with a move to Duban-based Sharks, in his native South Africa, a move he apparently favoured. Reports this weekend have suggested that deal is now off, despite Sale being open to letting him go. Marquee player De Jager signed a three contract with Sale when arrived from the Bulls after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, meaning his original contract is set to expire in 2022.

Where exactly he will go is unclear, although he has been linked with lucrative deals in France and Japan. While his playing ability is beyond reproach, there’s no ignoring the fact that the Springbok World Cup winner has spent much of his time at Sale on the injury list – albeit after a string of freak incidents.

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Alex Sanderson’s side were widely reported to have been interested in filling the void he leaves with highly rated Stormers lock Salmaan Moerat – a star of the Baby Boks who’s highly fancied as a future Test player. However, this weekend The Rugby Paper’s Neil Fissler reports that Exeter Chiefs’ Jonny Hill will sign on at the AJ Bell Stadium, confirming a move widely rumored early this month.

Sale have already let the even larger JP du Preez join Glasgow Warriors at the end of the season.  Further reports this weekend from South African outlet Rapport suggest that the Du Preez twins – Jean-Luc and Daniel – are both now targets of the Durban-based Sharks, who want to lure them back to their progenitor franchise.

Should they lure Jean-Luc back to Durban and with De Jager and JP du Preez heading for the exit, it would leave Sale with Josh Beaumont, Cobus Wiese and James Philips, who will be 35 at the start of next season, meaning there’s plenty of room for the arrival of British and Irish Lion Hill.

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