Loose forward Keegan Daniel will depart the Sharks at the conclusion of the Super Rugby tournament to join Kubota in Japan. He will join fellow Sharks Boks Ryan Kankowski and JP Pietersen, who plays in Japan and then returns for Super Rugby. However, it is uncertain if Daniel will be back for Super Rugby duty next year. Having joined the Sharks Academy in 2004, Daniel went on to make his Sharks senior debut in 2006 against the Reds. With 199 first caps to date for the Sharks, 59 of those as captain, he led the team to Currie Cup glory in 2013.
The Sharks said in a statement on Friday that Daniel will always be regarded as an exceptional player who has served the Durban-based franchise with distinction over the years. He is a regarded as fierce competitor and someone that always boxed above his weight and led by example.v His humble nature and never-say-die attitude are some of his greatest attributes and both the team and administrators alike will miss his steely determination and courage.
Commenting on his departure, The Sharks CEO, John Smit said Daniel has been an “instrumental part” of the Sharks for many years. “His commitment to the jersey and to the franchise could never be questioned,” the World Cup-winning former Bok captain, Smit, said. “We offered Keegan a long-term contract to stay in Durban, but he has decided that it was time in his career for a new challenge.
“We respect his decision and thank him for ten years of dedication and loyalty. We wish him the very best for this new and exciting chapter in his life.”
Daniel said he was “eternally grateful” to the Sharks for what they have done for his career. “I have been at the union for 10 years, experienced many highs, and have had the opportunity to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and have built lasting friendships along the way,” the loose forward said. “It is never an easy decision to make when the time comes to move on and ply your trade elsewhere.
“I am sad to leave a place that I have called home and will always respect what the Sharks jersey stands for. It was an honour to captain the team for a couple of seasons and I have enjoyed every single moment of my time here.
“I look forward to contributing to the team’s aspirations during the Super Rugby tournament before I embark on a new journey that seeks to embrace a new culture and style of rugby.”