South African centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg has been fined £32,500 and handed a two-week ban after he was found to have signed contracts with both Sale Sharks and Gloucester.
Van Rensburg was a Lions player when he had a loan spell with Sale in the 2017-18 season, at which point he had already privately agreed to join Gloucester from November 2018.
However, on January 11, 2018 Van Rensburg signed a contract with Sale to play for the Sharks from July 1 of that year, clinching a lucrative three-year deal.
Evidence seen by a Rugby Football Union (RFU) disciplinary panel shows Van Rensburg later sent a WhatsApp message to Gloucester coach Johan Ackermann, in which the player suggests he had “messed up”, believing a conversation they had at the turn of the year meant his Gloucester agreement could be broken.
“After we spoke, you said to me not to feel obliged to sign for Gloucester,” Van Rensburg wrote. “Sale offered me a deal which I have agreed to. I am very stressed out over this.”
Van Rensburg added in his message: “I’m really sorry and disappointed in myself. Their deal was at the time a lot better than Gloucester’s deal which made it very attractive to me.”
Sale withdrew their initial contract offer to Van Rensburg before he signed again with the Sharks in June 2018.
The RFU said £25,000 of the fine issued to Van Rensburg would be paid to Gloucester, who gave the player that sum when he agreed to join the Premiership club. The dates of his suspension will be announced when rugby, which is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, is able to continue.
Van Rensburg’s representative Matthew Ginvert was reprimanded, fined £3,750 and told to undertake an agent’s education programme. There was no evidence of him knowing about the existence of the Gloucester contract.
Sale received a £20,000 fine and a suspended five-point deduction.
Because of COVID-19, the RFU said the disciplinary case was held using video conferencing.
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