The plane carrying the Wildebeest rugby team to Welkom on Friday had to make an emergency landing back in Durban after a problem with the undercarriage.
According to Sharks commercial manager Rudolf Straeuli the players endured a four-hour ordeal as the pilots had to dump fuel first in the event of a problem on landing.
“I want to stress that the charter flight company handled the situation expertly and while the situation is not ideal no one was injured and the guys are all safe at home now,” he told keo.co.za.
“There was apparently a problem with the tyres, but I have not spoken to the pilot yet so I’m still awaiting confirmation.”
Straeuli did confirm that tonight’s match between the Wildebeest and Griffons at the North West Stadium in Welkom will not take place. A date for a rematch has yet to be decided.
The Sharks are awaiting advice from SA Rugby in terms of the way forward. Due to some of the players being severely traumatized, the match will not be rescheduled for tomorrow.
SA Rugby CEO Johan Prinsloo told keo.co.za that under the circumstances they fully understood the decision not to play this weekend. “It is not a happy situation for those players so we understand. The two unions must now decide between themselves for a new date. If they cannot agree then the decision reverts to us. If the match is not played at all it is recorded as a draw,” he said.
According to the rules of the competition, the match could even be played after the final, but that is unlikely as it would prove a completely fruitless exercise. Whether the match is played or not, the Sharks are certain of topping the Vodacom Cup log so it will not affect the final next weekend anyway.
By Andrew Hollely