In an interesting article on the KZN Club Rugby site, new Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White has revealed more of the thinking behind yesterday’s club day, where members of the Sharks Super Rugby squad wore their respective club strips to training.
White, as a stickler for tradition, is keen to reforge the links between amateur and professional rugby in the province by ensuring that the Sharks, through their players, become more involved in grass roots club activities. By leveraging the best assets that Sharks have – namely those household names who play for the senior team in Super Rugby – white seems to have a twofold plan; firstly to improve the standard and competitiveness of the game at club level and secondly to drastically increase interest and support through the regular appearance of those top players at club functions.
It has all started with a re-balancing of assets, for want of a better term. White has pointed at a lopsided system in which the vast majority of Sharks players would belong to just one or two clubs, with College Rovers, of course, the clear success story on the local club scene, one of those “strong clubs” to boast an over-allocation of Sharks players. Never shy to ruffle a few feathers, White and the Sharks have redistributed their core of contracted players across the club landscape, moving a player like Ryan Kankowski, for instance, to Amanzimtoti from Rovers and the likes of Lwazi Mvovo and Wiehahn Herbst from Varsity College to struggling Maritzburg Collegians.
White’s goal is that all his players, when not required by the Sharks, will do as much as they can for their clubs and will even play for their club teams when possible, something that very few professional rugby players will have done in a long, long time. With Vodacom Cup set to conclude in May this year, while Super Rugby continues for a good few months after that, it’s likely that the local club scene will see a strong injection of contracted Sharks players later in the year, which can only be good for the game in KZN. The fact that these players won’t all be going to Rovers or Durban Collegians will add further spice.
Here are the new allocations of players to clubs:
Jonsson College Rovers (7)
du Toit Pieter-Steph
SA Home Loans Durban Collegians (8)
Marshall Security Crusaders (7)
du Plessis Jannie
du Plessis Bismarck
Varsity College RFC (7)
Amanzimtoti Rugby Club (7)
UKZN Impi (7)
van Schalkwyk Stefan
PMB Collegians (5)
van Tonder Jaco