Current captain Siya Kolisi will be leaving the Sharks at the end of the season, even though he signed a five-year contract renewal last May, to join Racing 92 in France, and it’s all kosher, according to the local franchise’s CEO Eduard Coetzee.
Kolisi’s three-year deal with Racing, a Parisian club, was announced on Tuesday and, while it will no doubt shock Sharks fans and cause consternation in terms of those wondering what happens to the Springbok captaincy after the World Cup, Coetzee said Kolisi was leaving Kings Park early with their full blessing.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Bok captain’s move.
Collaboration between Sharks and Racing 92
“Siya’s move to France is a new and exciting opportunity and we could not be happier for him. We are blessed to have him don the black-and-white jersey and we know that over the next few months, he will continue to give back to the team and our fans,” Coetzee said in a Sharks statement.
Also, the move was “part of a broader long-term collaboration between the Sharks and Racing 92, with the two clubs having come to an amicable agreement, while they also look forward to continuing to build a mutually-beneficial relationship in the future.”
Kolisi expressed his gratitude to the Sharks for their willingness to part with their most iconic player.
“It has been an incredible collaborative effort between the Sharks and Racing 92 that has enabled me to start a new chapter in my career after the 2023 World Cup.
“I want to give a massive thanks to the Sharks for welcoming me with open arms in 2021, and for making me feel so at home in Durban, while their support over the last couple of years has been hugely influential during a key period in my career.
“I am immensely appreciative that the Sharks have given me their blessing to make this move, and it goes without saying that I will continue to give my all for the team over the next few months,” Kolisi said.
Read more: Confirmed – Siya Kolisi released by Sharks to join Racing 92
Kolisi ‘a deep humanist’
“The signing of Siya Kolisi reinforces the ambitions of Racing 92 and will offer our supporters a high-level show,” said Jack Lorenzetti, the owner of Racing.
“His deep culture of victory and natural leadership makes him a great player, but he’s also a deep humanist. He will bring additional positive energy to Racing 92.”
Post-2023 World Cup
The 31-year-old’s departure to France, for what is probably hundreds of thousands of euro a year, certainly spices up the debate about how the Springboks should approach the post-2023 World Cup era.
Kolisi will only be 32 at the end of this year’s World Cup, and 36 at the 2027 event in Australia, which he will presumably still be available for given that his Sharks contract was going to run until then.
Whoever is in charge of the Springboks at the end of this year may want to keep Kolisi as captain, perhaps with a handover period to his successor.
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