Cheetahs winger Lionel Mapoe has failed in a bid to be released from his current contract with the Free State union.
The South Africa sevens star, one of the stand-out players during the Super 14, was gunning for a move to the Sharks, who he even trained with a few weeks ago.
Mapoe cited problems with his salary as the reason for wanting to quit Bloemfontein, with his agent Jan-Harm van Wyk seeking a release certificate from the Cheetahs in order to pave the way for a lucrative move to Durban but Advocate Bertus van Rhyn, who was hearing the case, ruled that his current employers have a valid contract and ordered the player to immediately return to training with his current team-mates.
He must now report to camp by Thursday and present himself at the regular Cheetahs practice session.
The ruling has been welcomed by Free State Rugby Union president, Harold Verster.
He told www.supersport.com: "It is great that the arbitration process proved what we knew all along, that we have a valid contract with Lionel.
"He now needs to get back to Bloemfontein today or tomorrow and rejoin the team. He needs to get his head right and play."
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske added: "It hopefully sends out a strong message to players that they need to honour their contracts.
"But we are very happy that we were right all along and that we had a valid contract with him."