Stormers coach John Dobson yesterday confirmed that Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi and star wing Edwill van der Merwe will leave the franchise later this year.
The Sharks caught the Stormers by surprise when they tweeted that the 30-year-old Mbonambi will join fellow ex-Stormer Siya Kolisi at the Shark tank, while Dobson confirmed reports that the Rainbow Cup’s leading try-scorer Van der Merwe will join the Lions.
Of Mbonambi, Dobson says: “We were a bit surprised by the Sharks announcement today, normally we would work together with them on that.
“We’ve been dealing with Bongi over the last five or six months – there are other considerations at play which I don’t want to go into and I certainly don’t want to go the route in terms of discussing offers and salaries.
Seems someone got a little carried away over in Durban: Bongi Mbonambi will be leaving Cape Town when his contract is up in November and will give his all for the blue and white until then when not playing for the Boks. #still9 😉 https://t.co/C9KPzLEyMt— DHL Stormers (@THESTORMERS) June 8, 2021
“I’m absolutely convinced that we did our best to keep Bongi…
“We went to a nice camp in Wilderness in March and he said how happy he was here, but then other things came into play and I’m not going to disclose Bongi’s personal reasons for that. We knew he was going to the Sharks –we’ve got some plans around it…”
Of five-try hero Van der Merwe, he adds: “We’ve had Edwill in our system for five years and he hasn’t played a lot.
“He’s been absolutely brilliant the last while and got an offer from the Lions which he intends to accept, if he hasn’t accepted it already.
“The issue there is two-fold; we made Edwill an offer a few months ago, before he had played these three games. We even sharpened the offer up before he played these three games and he was considering that.
“He also wants to play overseas at some stage. And to get that visa, you need to start Pro14 rugby, 75 percent of the games.
“We’ve got the likes of Seabelo Senatla, Sergeal Petersen and Angelo Davids, who we think is going to be a real star, and Leolin Zas.
“So it was impossible for me to say to Edwill you can get your visa because you are going to start 75 percent of the games...”