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Sharks retain Springboks stars
ESPNscrum Staff
January 25, 2012
The Sharks' Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira pack down in training, Sharks training session, Kings Park, Durban, South Africa, May 5, 2011
The front-row trio have all signed new deals with the Sharks © Getty Images
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The Sharks have been handed a boost ahead of the new Super Rugby season with the news that several of their stellar names have re-committed to the Natal-based franchise.

Despite rumours surrounding the futures of Du Plessis brothers Bismarck and Jannie, the Sharks have confirmed that the pair will be staying at Kings Park. Bismarck was reportedly courting interest from Europe with clubs in the Top 14 and the Aviva Premiership eyeing his signature.

But following John Smit's departure from the Sharks at the end of last season, Du Plessis finally has the chance to establish himself as first choice hooker for both club and country.

And the Du Plessis brothers are not the only Springboks to have committed their future. "Youngsters like Lwazi Mvovo, S'Bura Sithole, Lubabalo Mthembu and Patrick Lambie have all extended their contracts, as well as senior players like Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis, Beast Mtawarira," said Commercial Manager, Rudolf Straeuli. "We have secured all the good young players and Springboks, none of them are leaving.

"We also have a stable coaching staff and environment and in the near future, we may be able to announce more signings."

While the Sharks have not confirmed the length of the contracts, Straeuli has revealed that some of them are two-year deals.

And the Sharks have also confirmed that second-row Steven Sykes has returned to the franchise. Sykes joined Leinster at the end of last season but returns to vie with the likes of Alastair Hargreaves and Ross Skeate for a space in the side.

"Steven Sykes is coming back," Sharks coach John Plumtree said. " As soon as I heard that he wanted to come back home, I was really interested. A player of his calibre is vital because of the experience he offers us, especially in this (Super Rugby) competition."

The Sharks open their Super Rugby campaign against the Bulls on February 24 with Keegan Daniel leading the side.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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