Getting to know the new Sharks backline coach

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, In the news, Sharks on 23 Jul 2013 at 11:52
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , ,

Craig Lewis from the Daily News recently caught up with new Sharks backline coach Sean Everitt for an insightful Q&A session.

CRAIG LEWIS: Where did your love for coaching originate?
SEAN EVERITT: I would say that probably originated from my teaching days. I studied to be a teacher, and I taught at Kloof Senior Primary for one year and then at DPHS for 15 years. I always wanted to get involved in teaching because of the sport aspect. I thrived on that. Having enjoyed it at school, the big step up was coaching first team at College Rovers from 2001. That was something I had to think quite a bit about because it required more time and was a lot more serious. But I guess you could say I jumped into it and never looked back from there. I really enjoyed my time at Rovers, and it’s probably because of the environment that we created that I stayed for such a long time. I finished there in 2007; it was a very enjoyable time.

CL: You then joined the Sharks’ coaching team for the successful 2008 Currie Cup campaign, how enjoyable was that experience?
SE: It was a real learning experience and introduction to professional rugby for me, so it was certainly a great year. It was a great environment to be in. That team environment was key to the success. People kept asking me prior to the final what the chances were of the team winning, and I never had a doubt in my mind that the team would pull it through on the day, that’s how strong the bond was between those teammates.

CL: From there, you progressed into coaching the Sharks under-21s and Vodacom Cup team.
SE: Ja, in 2009 I was manager and head coach of the Vodacom side and we had some good players who had played in the Currie Cup the year before. I was then in the same position for the under-21s that year, and we had quite a young side and got to the final, where we were unfortunate to miss out in extra-time of that match. So it was a good year and a good introduction as a coach for me.

CL: Having spent the last couple of years coaching the Sharks XV and age-group teams (one season with the under-19s and three with the U21s), how beneficial has that been from a learning point of view?
SE: Well I learnt to adapt to different make-ups of teams because age-group teams are different from year to year, and you end up with different strengths in certain areas each year, so you learn to adapt game-plans to suit the personnel you have. That was good for me. At the same time, I learnt to deal with disruptions because the team can change from week to week because of call-ups to the senior team, or when players come down from the Super Rugby squad. But we’ve always tried to make the Vodacom Cup team slightly more relaxed from a rugby point of view so that the guys really enjoy the experience and feel comfortable.

CL: Do you feel it was a suitable coaching apprenticeship to now make this step up?
SE: Absolutely, you gain a lot of confidence from coaching those teams and dealing with the various challenges. Over the four years with the juniors, we did pretty well, the under-21s made two out of three finals. It was also good working with some of the senior players at times when they were coming back from injury. Interacting with them and learning from them was good.

CL: Is it a big bonus to have that background of knowing the younger players as well as some of the seniors?
SE: It’s a huge plus for me because in my first year of coaching at the Sharks, I was working with quite a few players who are now with the senior team. Just being involved in the set-up has helped me build relationships with those players and they know what I’m about, and I think there is a form of trust between us. Now the biggest challenge is to get the rugby right on the field.

CL: Who would you say are some of the young players to look out for?
SE: Well (flyhalf) Fred Zeilinga is a name that a lot of people are talking about at the moment and justifiably so. He’s come through Glenwood (High School) and did really well at schoolboy level. Obviously he’s been in our system for a while now; he’s in his fourth year as a junior even though he’s still under-21. He recently made his Super Rugby debut against the Kings, and he’ll get an opportunity in the Currie Cup. In the under-21 set-up, there is an excellent pack of forwards, and it would take a lot for any opposition to get the better of them. What is also quite pleasing is that a lot of youngsters have all done their apprenticeship at the Sharks and come through the ranks, which is what you want.

CL: How much are you looking forward to working with (director of rugby) Brendan Venter?
SE: Brendan is a great guy and has achieved huge success, even from the days he was at London Irish, and then (as an assistant coach) with the Baby Boks and obviously at Saracens (as director of rugby). I’ve got a lot of respect for him and was fortunate enough to meet him at Saracens three years ago when I went there on an upskillment programme, and what he’s done there is phenomenal. He is very knowledgeable and has done a lot of research in rugby, so we will certainly learn from him and give him the best support we can.

CL: And you have obviously worked with (fellow coach) Brad (Macleod-Henderson) before.
SE: Brad and I have worked together over the last year (with the Sharks under-21s), and I was actually fortunate enough to have coached him a few times at College Rovers. So our relationship goes back a long way. We know that there are challenges ahead, and that we are in somewhat of a rebuilding phase with a few players having moved on, and a new coaching staff coming in. These are some of the challenges, and we have to earn the respect of the players and also put results on the board to get the support of the public.

CL: How would you describe the roles of the coaching staff?
SE: Well we are all accountable for what we are doing. There will be other coaches joining the staff and everyone will have areas they are responsible for. So when things are thrashed out around the table, there is not just one opinion that is taken into consideration, it’s more about a consensus. At the end of the day Brad and I are both coaches working under Brendan.

CL: Was it an easy decision for you to take on your new role?
SE: I think any coach strives to get to the highest level, and to be involved with the Sharks has been a dream and ambition of mine for a long time. So it was something I wanted to grab with both hands.

CL: Are there some areas that you are particularly passionate about as a coach?
SE: I’ve thoroughly enjoyed coaching the attack and working with the backs, but I think if there is one area I’d really like to see an improvement in, it’s the general skills of the players. You can play to any game plan you like, but if you don’t have the skills to implement the execution of it then you’re going to fall short. So I’d like the players to have the confidence in their core skills to be able to implement the plan we have in place. So I’d say that’s one area, and the development of that, which takes place from learning from mistakes and your strengths and weaknesses, which we will analyse on computers, and that will be a large part of my job as well.

CL: What would you say to those who feel the Sharks’ attack has not fired as well as it should at times?
SE: At the end of the day I think everyone wants to watch attractive rugby, and everybody wants to be entertained. I think as coaches we understand that from the public’s point of view, but at the same time, as the Sharks showed against the Blues a couple of weeks ago, a win can change the perspective of things very quickly. We have to put a plan in place that will produce tries, but also winning rugby, because that’s ultimately what it’s about.

CL: Do you feel there is a Sharks squad capable of success in the Currie Cup this year, even though a number of players will join the Boks again?
SE: There are quite a few young players who have gained Super Rugby experience this season because of all the injuries, so I think that’s benefited them. There aren’t too many new faces, or players that will be completely inexperienced at this level, so it’s a squad we feel is capable of winning the Currie Cup?

CL: Just finally, what would be your message to the public, who may still be a bit sceptical after all the recent changes at the Sharks?
SE: You know the players are a very close-knit group, so from a player perspective they are happy and determined, and they want to be successful. As do the coaches. We want to create as environment for the players to thrive on. That’s something that John (Smit), Brad and Brendan want to bring in, so that the players continue to work in a happy environment. Whether you are in the corporate world, or in education, rugby or whatever field, you can only achieve as much as your environment allows you to.


  • Good to hear about the emphasis on skills

  • Comment 1, posted at 23.07.13 12:19:07 by Bokhoring Reply
    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • Nice read! Can’t wait for CC

  • Comment 2, posted at 23.07.13 13:40:25 by Die Kriek Reply

    Super Rugby player
  • Go Coaches!!! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 3, posted at 23.07.13 13:51:37 by JarsonX Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
    JarsonXAssistant coach
  • Can’t wait to see what type of coaches these guys are. It doesn’t seem like there will be too many changes.

  • Comment 4, posted at 23.07.13 15:04:33 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    LetgoAssistant coach
  • Now we talking,great to hear it,skills,skills and then more skills.

  • Comment 5, posted at 23.07.13 15:13:57 by benji Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Team captain

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