Sharks won’t release the rocket

Vodacom Western Provinces efforts to sign Brent Russell will most likely be thwarted by the Sharks.

The 26-year-old dynamo’s contract with the Durban-based side runs until the end of 2007, but WP were said to be willing to negotiate a settlement in that regard. Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl however indicated that the union desired to hold on to Russell.

With JP Pietersen being coach Dick Muir’s first-choice fullback, Frans Steyn his premier pivot and Odwa Ndungane and Adi Jacobs filling the wing berths, the prospect of Russell being a bit-part player in their Vodacom Super 14 campaign is very real.

“I need to get game time,” a frustrated Russell told The Mercury. “The Sharks are a great team to play for, but I want to play rugby, not sit on the bench week in, week out.”

WP are known to be looking to add depth to their youthful squad but it is unlikely that a meeting between their CEO Rob Wagner and Van Zyl today will yield the desired result for the Cape union.

Adding to Russell’s woes is the fact that Van Zyl confirmed that the Sharks intended to sign veteran flyhalf Tony Brown for his second Vodacom Super 14 stint.

“It is early days in our talks with Tony and the Sanyo Wild Knights (his Japanese club) and one of the things we would need to sort out is that he came to us before the start of the Super 14 next year, not three rounds into it, as was the case this year. But we still have a long way to go regarding Tony,” Van Zyl said.