The Sharks have bolstered their fragile set piece by signing the experienced Reniel Hugo, the towering lock that has played mostly for the Cheetahs.
Mike Greenaway, in Durban – The Sharks have bolstered their fragile set piece by signing the experienced Reniel Hugo, the towering lock that has played mostly for the Cheetahs and is the son of former Springbok lock Niel Hugo.
At 1.97m (6ft 6), the 30-year-old has certainly taken after his lanky father, who was a Western Province stalwart in the ’80s and played two Tests for the Springboks in 1989.
Like his father, Reniel is a classic No 5 lock and a respected line-out specialist, and has a reputation for being a clever runner of the set piece
The former Paul Roos Gym pupil is highly rated by former Springbok coach Jake White, who signed him from the Cheetahs in 2018 to play for him at Toyota Verblitz in Japan. When White moved on to the Bulls, Hugo returned to the Cheetahs last year but has now signed a two-year contract with the Sharks.
At the media conference last week where Siya Kolisi was confirmed as a new Sharks player, Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee said that he was in the market for “three or four” new recruits to boost the tight five stocks, and Hugo is the first of those.
The Sharks are primarily after a tighthead specialist to back up Thomas du Toit — the Sharks struggled in the set scrums when The Tank picked up injuries last year.
They last week signed wing/fullback Yaw Penxe, who had come to the Sharks on loan from the Southern Kings after they went out of business. At the same time, they released wing Madosh Tambwe from his contract and he has moved to the Bulls.
Meanwhile, Coetzee has poured cold water on speculation that Springbok World Cup winner Chelsin Kolbe and England lock Maro Itoje are headed for Durban because they are clients of Roc Nation, the entertainment management company which is affiliated to MVM Holdings, the consortium that bought into the Sharks and brought Kolisi to the Shark Tank.
Speaking on East Coast Radio in Durban, Coetzee answered a question about the Kolbe and Itoje.
“Neither of them is coming to the Sharks,” the Chief Executive said. “Regarding Cheslin (Toulouse), if you look at our backline, and you’re a rugby man, you’d know that (fellow Bok wings) Sbu Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi went on the same business class section to the World Cup. They brought the same World Cup back …”
Itoje is currently contracted to the English club Saracens.