Reports that Argentina flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez has signed for the Sharks are false.
Some French publications and South African websites have run the story as fact, claiming that Hernandez, who currently plays for French giants Stade Francais, successfully negotiated a deal with the Durban franchise.
However, keo.co.za has learned from a reliable source at the Sharks that while the franchise has been in negotiations with Hernandez, they simply cannot afford his wage requirements.
Unless Hernandez lowers his expectations, the Sharks will not be able to lure him to Durban.
It was well documented that France international Frederic Michalak, who the Sharks signed at the end of 2007, was prepared to earn significantly less than what he would have in Europe for the experience of playing in the Super 14 and Currie Cup.
He has since returned to Toulouse, leaving the Sharks short of cover for Ruan Pienaar, who was shifted to 10 at the beginning of the 2009 season. The fact that Pienaar was injured for most of the Super 14 highlighted their lack of depth at flyhalf.
With Butch James having extended his contract with Bath for an additional two years, the hopes of Durban’s favourite son completing his career at the Sharks have been scuppered, while Frans Steyn’s departure for the Paris-based Racing Metro leaves them even lighter in the pivot department.
Where the Sharks will look to next remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that they have to act quickly to bulk up this department or they could find themselves in trouble should Pienaar suffer another injury, or lose form.
By Ryan Vrede