New era for Sharks rugby


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Posted in :Original Content, Reader Submissions, Sharks on 12 Jun 2013 at 14:00
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The recent appointment of John Smit as the new CEO of the Sharks and his subsequent appointment of Brendan Venter as the new Director of Rugby for the province has clearly provided the opportunity and impetus for the Sharks to enter a new era with a fresh approach from men who have a previous track record as strong leaders and who in partnership with relatively new President Graham Mckenzie (who is also noted for his leadership qualities) will be charged with huge responsibilities. They urgently need to assess the current state of rugby at all levels of the game within the province, set ambitious yet challenging goals and more importantly develop a strategic plan that will finally turn one of the biggest names in world rugby (thanks mainly to the efforts of outgoing CEO Brian van Zyl) into a truly professional and successful provincial franchise, with a trophy cabinet providing the necessary evidence of a successful tenure.

The most successful rugby franchises in world rugby, (names that immediately come to mind are the Crusaders from NZ, Leinster from Ireland, and of course the Bulls from SA) all have one thing in common, a philosophy of rugby that permeates all their leagues and structures. It is a mind set that over time becomes engrained in every player from the schoolboy to the provincial player and also a style of playing that sets them apart from their counterparts. A style that suits the mentality and expectations of the rugby public of KZN. A philosophy that all can proudly feel part of and most importantly, when it comes to the business end of provincial rugby, produces success at all levels on a regular basis.

So what type of rugby can we expect from a John Smit and Brendan Venter led franchise? Well the good news is that they are both winners and John Smit will most certainly have absorbed many influences during his successful playing career, in particular Jake White, paramount of which will be how to win! Similar to Brendan Venter at Saracens both are comfortable with a low risk, conservative game based on exerting continuous pressure on the opposition, set piece dominance, strong aggressive defence and good discipline, all well executed and technically efficient with no need for fancy stuff. After all it didn’t take John Smit long to clip the wings of former Boks coach Peter de Villiers when he had big ideas of a new exciting, expansive Boks game plan, it just didn’t suit the strengths of SA rugby after all! But what about the Sharks? It would be nice to see that conservative style developed further to include more exciting running and handling, counter attacking with ball in hand and a little risk taking on appropriate occasions, but don’t hold your breath! At the end of the day if you ask any Sharks fan would they rather win conservatively or lose entertaining, there’s only one answer.

Apart from developing a Sharks philosophy of rugby, (which clearly does not exist at present) there are many other tough decisions awaiting the new leadership brigade. The most immediate is probably who will be the new head coach and his assistants after the Currie Cup? Surely with Smit and Venter in place and providing oversight and guidance, there is no need for another expensive big name coach, maybe it is time to give some local talent the opportunity.

Other decisions that should be occupying their minds at present are, the continued lack of silverware at U18, U19, U21 and Vodacom levels (which is contrary to developing a winning mentality and culture) and the vital role of the Sharks Academy. Is the academy too big, sacrificing quality for quantity, and why do so many talented young players having spent years on junior contracts at the academy leave and excel at other provinces?

It will be interesting to see how the future unfolds for this new leadership group under the watchful eye of the Sharks board. However, there is one certainty and that is, successful outcomes to the above challenges need to be delivered if this opportunity for an exciting new era is to be realised.



27 Comments

  • Nice post.

    For me, Sharks rugby at its best is built on dominance by the forwards, and the ability to hurt teams on counter attack. But beautiful running rugby and interplay between the loosies and backline.

    I don’t think winning rugby and entertaining rugby is mutually exclusive, we can have both and should push to have both. Make winning rugby watchable and entertaining, that’s how you build a successful brand.

    With Brendan Venter at the helm as DoR, it might now actually be viable to give Shaun Everitt a shot at coaching the senior team. He’ll be far more willing to work under the direction of Venter, than any big shot big name coach ever would.

  • Comment 1, posted at 12.06.13 14:18:48 by FireTheLooser Reply
    Assistant coach
     
  • Nice post, it should get some debate going.

    As for me, if the Sharks start dishing up the winning rugby dros rthat the Stormers have done for the last few season then I will become a weekend fisherman again. It mnay have been winning rugby but its hell to watch and thus the result in the Sunday papers will give more enjoyment than watching the game.

  • Comment 2, posted at 12.06.13 14:32:04 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the SubtleAssistant coach
     
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 2) : you could argue that the Stormers’ style of “winning rugby” isn’t actually that winning after all… I mean, how many trophies has it netted them?

    Venter is not enough of a fool to believe in a blueprint that neglects attack and try-scoring.

  • Comment 3, posted at 12.06.13 14:34:03 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • “why do so many talented young players having spent years on junior contracts at the academy leave and excel at other provinces?”

    Who, I cant think of 1, there must be some though.

  • Comment 4, posted at 12.06.13 14:34:23 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : Well they went through last years Super rugby relatively unscathed and lost out badly when it mattered. That would make me even more pissed off as a
    supporter – watching crap all year and still failing.
    And this year has shown that its even worse when the results dont come.

    And yet the supporter still scream in.

  • Comment 5, posted at 12.06.13 14:38:23 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • Whats up with the article on Victor Matfield, it says this article cant be found and has been returned..?

  • Comment 6, posted at 12.06.13 14:40:28 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • I am sorry but I get the feeling everyone lives in a dream word.
    Firstly lets win a game, and then start developing a slightly expansive game plan, nothing to fast nothing to slow. just time it right from the outset. We cant go into games playing like the darn French as then we will never win any cup.

    Edit: it feels like everyone wants this expansive game plan, yet when Divvy wanted to incorporate it everyone said NO its not our style. My biggest problem is South African players are not skilled enough to play a expansive style of play. Some how they lose those skills they had at school as soon as they start playing for any province. The only team that some how manages to keep some of that skill is FS, but then again they start with a new school boy team every year…

  • Comment 7, posted at 12.06.13 15:10:36 by Uli Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli BoelieTeam captain
     
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 6) : what article on victor matfield?

  • Comment 8, posted at 12.06.13 15:12:20 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Uli (Comment 7) : Sharks SR 2008 part 1, 2009 part 1, 2012 part 2, tell me that wasn’t expansive rugby.

  • Comment 9, posted at 12.06.13 15:17:04 by FireTheLooser Reply

    Assistant coach
     
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 9) : Show me the money? still no cups are there?

  • Comment 10, posted at 12.06.13 15:19:22 by Uli Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli BoelieTeam captain
     
  • @Uli (Comment 10) : You’ll notice it was either done at the start of a season and not done for the entire season, or left for too late.

    Strange how SA rugby players are deemed to be too dumb to acquire the skills required to play lekker running rugby and winning while they’re at it. :???:

  • Comment 11, posted at 12.06.13 15:25:26 by FireTheLooser Reply

    Assistant coach
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : I thought it was about him, but I now see its up and running and its actually about Jannie Doep and his ilk in the engine room. :twisted:

  • Comment 12, posted at 12.06.13 15:44:50 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • How about finding a way to play in the fancy new stadium in the new era?

  • Comment 13, posted at 12.06.13 16:02:46 by fyndraai Reply
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    fyndraaiTeam captain
     
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 12) : Oh, I gotcha…. subtle :)

  • Comment 14, posted at 12.06.13 16:10:32 by robdylan Reply
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    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • “why do so many talented young players having spent years on junior contracts at the academy leave and excel at other provinces?”

    Who, I cant think of 1, there must be some though.

    nick schonert, piet linderque,wesley dunlop, cronje brothers and the others whom have gone overseas as well.

  • Comment 15, posted at 12.06.13 21:25:23 by sharksupport Reply

    Under 21 player
     
  • @sharksupport there is no way that any province can keep all the players every year that’s to old for 0/21 rugby. The aim is to keep the best players in the positions that the senior team needs. Sometimes they get it wrong and a star gets away but hey that’s life.

  • Comment 16, posted at 12.06.13 23:59:06 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    JDAssistant coach
     
  • @sharksupport (Comment 15) : All good players, but can you honestly look at those names and say that the Sharks have missed a trick by not offering them senior contracts, or that you/we are jealous that they now play in another unions colours. My answer is no to these scenarios

    Conversely it could be argued that the academy has given these guys enough additional skills to still make a name and a living from rugby.

  • Comment 17, posted at 13.06.13 08:54:02 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 17) : you know that this has been discussed before and that I am about 95% in agreement with you.

    There are players that we have lost that I would love to get back, but by and large, those are guys who got through the junior ranks just fine and then fell out of favour once they were seniors. With very few exceptions, those guys all left because they butted heads with Plumtree.

    I’m talking about the likes of Pienaar, Kockott, Murray, Barritt, Rhodes, Cilliers, Hargreaves and so on.

  • Comment 18, posted at 13.06.13 09:41:52 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • I would take a tryless superrugby season if it means lifting the cup. But the year thereafter my tune will change!!

  • Comment 19, posted at 13.06.13 10:05:39 by King Shark Reply
    Author
    King SharkVodacom Cup player
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 18) : And to think, van Zyl wanted to give Plum another two year contract…did Plum have dirt on van Zyl or what :twisted:

  • Comment 20, posted at 13.06.13 10:18:14 by FireTheLooser Reply

    Assistant coach
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 18) : Agree on those players, mostly guys that could still offer the Sharks pleanty but none of them were lost from the juniour ranks and all had cracked the big boys squad and mostly excelled there. The reason for them leaving is another issue however any player that plays for the senior Sharks will automatically attract interest from other unions and even more so from overseas clubs.

  • Comment 21, posted at 13.06.13 10:23:25 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 20) : van Zyl was all about feathering his own nest and keeping things ticking over…. Mr Teflon. Out of touch with what the fans want and out of touch with the modern game.

  • Comment 22, posted at 13.06.13 10:42:38 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 21) : I am very interested in getting to the bottom of this point and I’m really hopeful to be able to discuss it with Venter, even if I have to ambush him at Heathrow Airport.

    Something IS working right within junior development at the Sharks, but not in the way people are trying to measure it. Sure, our u19 and u21 teams are outgunned, but we are getting a consistent stream of our own talent coming into the senior side and as you say, we very seldom let the really “good ones” slip through the net. Plumtree, to his credit, has been very good about fast-tracking the seriously talented kids.

  • Comment 23, posted at 13.06.13 10:44:57 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 23) : Im sure Venter will be more than willing to chat to you, especially now that you are sporting a picture of him as your avatar. :cool:

    I really hope you get to chat to him, specifically about the juniours.

  • Comment 24, posted at 13.06.13 11:22:27 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 24) : I’m clever, hey?

  • Comment 25, posted at 13.06.13 11:23:30 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 25) : Yep, btw what happened to the last guy whose face appeared on your avatar.?

  • Comment 26, posted at 13.06.13 11:40:04 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 26) : haha…. I knew it was coming.

  • Comment 27, posted at 13.06.13 11:47:18 by robdylan Reply
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