Ryan Kankowski described his omission from the Sharks squad as a shock that lead to a heated confrontation with coach John Plumtree.
Kankowski, according to the Times Newspaper, said: ‘When he told me I was out of the squad, I wasn’t happy and he knew that, but there’s not much you can do as a player,’ Kankowski told the newspaper. ‘I agreed that I hadn’t been playing as well as I could and Plum said he wanted me to be more involved in the game. Even though I’ve been playing out of position at times, I’m not going to use that as an excuse. You get put on the field and you’re expected to deliver.
‘Of course I’m upset about being axed,’ he added. ‘The Sharks have been my flipping life for the last 10 years and it came as a shock to me. Plum was really unhappy with the way I’ve been playing and I was instructed to “take some time off and go do whatever I want”. It was quite a shock to be told something like that midway through the season and it caught me completely off guard.
‘A lot of reasons have been thrown around as to why I was axed. I was told Japan was bad for me and that the possibility of me going back also played a role, as well as my form not being as good as it could be. But I don’t buy that I’m not fit. I’ve been playing for four full seasons prior to this one, so obviously match fitness isn’t a problem.’
Plumtree told the media prior to leaving that he was not happy with the conditioning of Kankowski and centre Frans Steyn.
The Sharks coach was vocal in his criticism of senior players who he felt had not delivered on their obvious talent.