Province pursue pocket rocket

Brent Russell could be a Vodacom Western Province player next season.

Western Province CEO, Rob Wagner confirmed that negotiations were underway to lure Russell to the Cape.

“We have had discussions (with the KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union) about the possibility of getting Brent out of his contract but have not agreed about anything,” Wagner told Die Burger.

Russell’s contract runs until the end of the 2007 season and Province will have to pay a transfer fee to the KZNRU should they wish to sign him before then.

The 26-year-old however was guarded about the details of the move. “I am concentrating on the Currie Cup semi-final. I leave the negotiations to my agent,” he told Beeld.

“I would like to remain with the Sharks and am certainly not looking to move. But it does not mean I have not been approached by other teams.”

Russell has also been courted by French clubs keen to secure the services of a player who they feel would suit the their style of play.

There was speculation that he would return to the Cape, where he made his senior provincial debut in 2001, at the beginning of last season, but a regular starting berth in the opening rounds of the Super 14 meant he remained in Durban.

Russell though has had limited game-time in the Absa Currie Cup this season, coach Dick Muir preferring JP Pietersen and Francois Steyn in his preferred positions of flyhalf and fullback, and opting for Adi Jacobs ahead of him on the wing.

The Cape-based side have already signed Lions utility-back Conrad Jantjes and Griquas centre Ronnie Cooke. They are in negotiations impressive Fijian winger Sereli Naqelevuki to extend his contract and expect the return of speedster Tonderai Chavhanga for the start of the 2008 Super 14.