Saturday, January 5, 2008

Bath pull out of Jaco bid

Bath have opted not to embroiled in a bidding war with Japanese club the NEC Green Rockets over Springbok and Bulls full-back Jaco van der Westhuizen's services.

Van der Westhuizen was being lined up by the English club for the 2008 season, but with the Green Rockets unwilling to let go of the South African - and able to pay extravagantly for his services - Bath opted out of the deal.

"Jaco van der Westhuizen is not coming to Bath," Bath's operations director Nigel Laughton confirmed to the club's official website.

Meanwhile Bath coach Steve Meehan said that the club was against becoming involved in bidding wars.

And Bath, who were on the verge of signing Van der Westhuizen when a massive counter-offer was tabled by the Japanese club, will not be looking at an alternative signing as Meehan is confident that his squad have enough depth to withstand expected Six Nations call-ups.

"The Japanese club's offer was way above anything we could, or ever should, consider spending on one player," he said.

"We don't want players coming to Bath purely because of the size of the salary cheque, we want to sign players who want to come and join a talented, committed and ambitious squad."

This is not the first time that clubs have fought over Van der Westhuizen's services - at the end of 2003 the Leicester Tigers lost out to the Green Rockets in a bid for the South African, who spent the 2004/2005 season in Japan.

Van der Westhuizen will be playing in Japan again this year after leaving to help his former club, the Bulls, to win the Super 14 competition in 2007.

Rugby 2008 New Zealand Haka

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