Sbu Nkosi has been absent from the Sharks starting line up for a couple of weeks now, with debate raging about what is going on with the Sharks and the winger behind the scenes. It was confirmed early in March that Nkosi had engaged in talks with the Pretoria based Blue Bulls for a change of allegiance, but could this be hindering him from appearing out on the pitch?
The Blue Bulls, aware of Madosh Tambwe likely making a move to France at the end of the season, cast their rod down to Durban and into the Shark Tank, in the hope of luring another prolific finisher to their side to plug the hole. Sharks head coach, Sean Everitt confirmed the Bulls had entered the fray, similarly making it known that the Sharks aren't done negotiating though.
Nkosi last appeared for the Sharks in their game against Benneton in Italy, a game his side won 29 - 7. He was then suddenly pulled from the side set to face the Scarlets, shortly before kick off. Many believe the players contractual issues and a possible fall out during negotiations lead to his withdrawal. This wouldn't be the first time this has happened in the professional era of the game either. Frans Steyn faced similar circumstances in 2011.
Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee added fuel to the rumor mill though with his comments regarding player contracting at his franchise.
"We are still negotiating with Sbu. We've got a lot of high-profile players like Siya Kolisi, Bongi Mbonambi, Makazole Mapimpi, Lukhanyo Am and obviously they cost a lot of money. It's part of our game and part of our industry that we will lose some players."
However Everitt was at pains to stress Nkosi was out due to a health issue. Whilst the full details have not been released due to obvious privacy rights, it is a little concerning that the Sharks are so coy about what is going on with one of their star players.
"Sbu was never injured, he had health issues. He had a gastrointestinal virus, and he hasn't recovered from that."
Sbu Nkosi is an incredible talent, molded along similar lines to JP Pietersen and would be a terrible loss if he were to depart from the Shark Tank, be it to the Bulls or to Europe. However, if backroom issues are what is preventing the winger from taking to the pitch, some heavy introspection in the board room needs to be undertaken. The Sharks are underperforming at the moment and can ill afford to have a high profile player sidelined over red tape.