The Cell C Sharks confirmed that it had retained the services of 13 players as the management finalizes preparations for the resumption of competitive action in South Africa.
Confirmation of the deals has been announced periodically over the last two weeks with the Durban-based side keeping several key players including Rugby World Cup winner Makazole Mapimpi, flyhalf Curwin Bosch and Blitzboks star Werner Kok.
The 13 players had their deals extended by two or three years, with the majority signing on with the Durban-based franchise until 2022.
Those who signed two year deals are: winger Werner Kok, prop John-Hubert Meyer, centre Marius Louw, hooker Kerron van Vuuren, wing Madosh Tambwe, scrumhalves Jaden Hendrikse and Sanele Nohamba, centre Jeremy Ward and hooker Fez Mbatha.
Those who signed on until 2023 are: winger Makazole Mapimpi, lock JJ van der Mescht, eighth-man Sikhumbuzo Notshe and flyhalf Bosch.
Mapimpi’s contract allows him to take a sabbatical in Japan while boosting his earning potential. The 29-year-old is expected to join Japanese side NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes for the upcoming season from September 2020 until April 2021.
The news of the deals will be welcomed by Sharks fans and local rugby stakeholders who have seen a number of South African players leave the country to play in Europe or Japan in the past year.
South Africa is still organizing details regarding the launch of an eight-team domestic rugby competition having received approval from the government for a return to competitive action under strict COVID-19 regulations.
SA Rugby, the sport’s governing body in the nation, said it hoped to have its first matches of the competition by early to mid-September.
The Sharks were one of the teams which were allowed to resume training in order to participate in the competition. The others are: the Vodacom Bulls, Emirates Lions, DHL Stormers, Isuzu Southern Kings, Toyota Cheetahs, Tafel Lager Griquas and Phakisa Pumas.