Stormers coach John Dobson has
squashed “unfounded rumours” linking Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi to
the Bulls, saying he is fully committed to the Cape franchise.
Reports over the weekend
suggested that Mbonambi, who is contracted to the Stormers until the end of
October 2021, has a clause in his contract that could allow him to leave at the
end of Super Rugby, which is currently suspended and looking unlikely to be
completed this year.
In a video press conference on
Monday, though, Dobson re-emphasised what he had told Sport24 over the weekend,
stating emphatically that there was no such clause in Mbonambi’s
“On the Bongi Mbonambi
story, I can once again state categorically that he has no ‘get out’ clause
after Super Rugby in 2020 as reported,” Dobson said.
“He is contracted until 31
October 2021, but he could activate an escape clause after Super Rugby or the
British & Irish Lions tour next year.
“I think it’s best I quote
the player himself, and this is what he says today: ‘Just to set the record
straight, I am committed to the Stormers until late 2021. The Bulls have made
contact via my agent, but no decisions have been made.'”
Dobson added that he had been
concerned by other media reports relating to his players and the transfer
activity of the union.
“What’s been of concern to
me is a couple of inaccurate stories, which have been unnecessarily disruptive
on the group,” he said.
“For example, Pieter-Steph
going to Montpellier for 1 million Euros. I was intricately involved in the
negotiations from start to finish and I can tell you categorically that that
offer never existed from Montpellier.
“Similarly, we never made an
offer for Sintu Manjezi, as was reported over the weekend. We made an initial
enquiry, but we certainly never made an offer of any amount.
“We will always respect the
transfer windows and when contracts are coming up for renewal and we value our
good relationship with the Cheetahs and other unions.”
Dobson praised his squad for the
attitude they had displayed during the testing lockdown period as the fight
against the global coronavirus continues, but added that inaccurate reporting
surrounding the futures of players could have a negative impact.
“This is a very stressful
and disorienting time for everybody and the welfare of our players and squad is
incredibly important,” he said.
“If I can protect our
players while they are working remotely in some small way from unnecessary
angst caused by unfounded rumours … then I need to do that.
“I think we’ve done very
well given the profile of our Springboks, firstly to have retained these
players last year immediately after the World Cup and to have retained them though
this exit window and coming through unscathed from a Springbok point of view.
“Given the difficult
circumstances we find ourselves in at the moment, I’m absolutely thrilled at
the commitment of the existing squad to stay at the union.”