Plenty of big names linked with Sharks job

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 8 Oct 2014 at 10:22
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They say nature abhors a vacuum and with the media probably a part of the natural world (although sometimes it’s a bit of a stretch), it’s unsurprising that the particular vacuum that is the now-vacant Sharks Director of Rugby position is drawing in plenty of names.

Having parted ways somewhat acrimoniously with Jake White last week – and now facing yet another change in “head honcho” and presumably playing style as well – you can understand if John Smit and his Exco are a little wary about making a hasty appointment. With Brad Macleod-Henderson and his assistants doing a fair enough job in the Currie Cup and team morale finally on the up, the last thing Smit will want to do is make a false move and risk plunging things back into turmoil. I’d expect him to be casting a pretty wide net, in other words, without being particularly committal at this stage.

Inevitably, the media will pick up on any whiff of a discussion with virtually anyone and we need to be careful not to turn a “sounding out approach” into a formal job offer, which is pretty much exactly what happened when Smit spoke to Nick Mallett last year.

That episode has seemingly left a sour taste, with Mallett one of the few high profile and available coaches not to be linked to the job. The other whose name has not yet surfaced in reports is Peter de Villiers, a man who I feel might actually make a very good fist of running things at the Sharks, given his collaborative, forward thinking approach and open ways of dealing with players (rather the antithesis of the White way).

De Villiers, as I said, does not appear to be in the mix, although both of his deputies at Springbok level, Gary Gold and Dick Muir, are among those whose names do crop up, along with former All Black and Lions coach John Mitchell. Based purely on the amount of mentions received, Gold does appear to be the front-runner at this stage; unlike Muir, he’s actively coaching at the moment and does appear to be building his skill set, whereas Muir has faded into the background a little after a disastrous spell with the Lions. Mitchell is another who had a bad experience in Joburg and while he would appear to be the ideal candidate, as an available, experienced man who just happens to live in Durban, one just can’t quite shake off the concern relating to accusations of “losing the dressing room” in the last few places he’s coached.

The major objective, as I see it, is to find a man who is going to actually add value to the Sharks from a rugby perspective, while understanding and embracing the “family culture” that Smit spoke of regularly last year (and less so while White was running the show). Slavishly appointing a new “Director of Rugby” simply because everyone else has a man with such a title isn’t really going to achieve very much and for Smit and his team, the important thing is to carefully weigh up each candidate in terms of what he can bring as an individual, rather than simply trying to replicate White’s exact job description. It may be that we don’t need a Director at all, per se – someone like Muir certainly wouldn’t fit particularly well into that box, but could nonetheless be a hugely valuable addition to the coaching team, if he were allowed to focus on the things that he does well. The same would apply to any of the candidates under consideration.

The one man who would be a universally popular appointment, Brendan Venter, doesn’t seem to be in the running for a full-time role but talk persists that he may be used as a consultant in some way. The extent to which that arrangement could work will, of course, depend on Venter’s relationship with whomever Smit does bring in.


  • Would still like to see John Mitchell filling the post. I’m sure Smit can help temper his people skills.

  • Comment 1, posted at 08.10.14 10:26:52 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • No mention of Sir Graham Henry moving to Durbs? Damn.

    Anyone else wondering what Venter charges for this consulting gig of his?

  • Comment 2, posted at 08.10.14 10:27:17 by PTAShark Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 1) :

    Please dont do that .. you will be looking for a new coach in a years time .. take it from a Lion supporter

  • Comment 3, posted at 08.10.14 10:34:18 by Zibbie Reply
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  • Smit must just make very sure about the appointment this time round. As we are focusing on attractive,running rugby, I think we must make Carlos Spencer an offer to drop the Kings for a proper team šŸ˜ˆ
    Looking forward to the match this weekend, got my tickets yesterday, so can go watch a live game again for the first time in 3 years!

  • Comment 4, posted at 08.10.14 10:34:23 by HeinF Reply

  • @HeinF (Comment 4) :

    you guys like having a new coach each year ? šŸ˜›

  • Comment 5, posted at 08.10.14 10:37:45 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 3) : Fine, then give us back Johan Ackermann šŸ˜€

  • Comment 6, posted at 08.10.14 10:38:43 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 5) : Apparently, just see how much fun the discussions are. Other teams are going to bored after the CC, we still get to discuss a new coach šŸ˜‰

  • Comment 7, posted at 08.10.14 10:42:04 by HeinF Reply

  • @vanmartin (Comment 6) :

    no . he just signed a 2 year contract . maybe you can get Strauli to poac…. oh wait … šŸ˜›

    @HeinF (Comment 7) : haha . yea . the Lions get to hope for a new sponsor šŸ™‚

  • Comment 8, posted at 08.10.14 10:50:03 by Zibbie Reply
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  • Saw an interview on supersport with Smit after the lions game. He said they aren’t in any rush to appoint anyone and will take their time and make a good decision.

  • Comment 9, posted at 08.10.14 10:56:39 by PTAShark Reply
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  • The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of having Snorre at the Sharks. Say what about his coaching style, but he knows how to entertain!

  • Comment 10, posted at 08.10.14 10:57:53 by Die Kriek Reply

  • I am not a fan of a DOR that is actively involved in coaching. Id rather see the following. 1. A forwards coach and a backline coach with the more senior being designated ‘Head Coach’ and the more junior being primed to take over as ‘Head Coach’. 2. A specialist defense coach. 3. A technical advisor that puts structures in place for playing pattern and progression from u19s to senior level. He would liase the forwards/backs coaches regarding strategy and skills that are needed from u19s to seniors

  • Comment 11, posted at 08.10.14 10:58:15 by SheldonK Reply

  • Personally I think that Pdivvy could add huge value to the Sharks.

  • Comment 12, posted at 08.10.14 11:01:31 by Bump Reply

  • What are we after a coach,or a high profile rugby celebrity.
    If we are looking for someone with a lot of rugby suss and experience to compensate for the collective top rugby inexperience of Brad,Sean and Antony,then Swys de Bruin is the man.
    Plus he is a Natal man thru and thru and knows the family well.

  • Comment 13, posted at 08.10.14 11:07:10 by The hound Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 11) : I would like to add a skills coach and mental coach (perhaps one can handle all the teams) to that setup.

  • Comment 14, posted at 08.10.14 11:12:44 by Bokhoring Reply
  • P Divvy may make an entertaining press conference but he also beat the British Lions as well as has the most wins vs the All Blacks. So he may appear to a fool…but he is anything but!

  • Comment 15, posted at 08.10.14 11:13:12 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Bokhoring (Comment 14) : A mental coach could be more of a consultant to the Union rather than being full time employed. As for a skills coach- i think between the technical director and the forwards/backs coaches they should have the ability to act as a skills coach…if not then perhaps those are the wrong guys employed

  • Comment 16, posted at 08.10.14 11:16:30 by SheldonK Reply

  • P divvy would be my 2nd choice behind Brendan Venter. His man management skills and entertainment value are priceless, as is his willingness to say what has to be said, albeit in his own unique fashion.

  • Comment 17, posted at 08.10.14 11:27:15 by The Quirk Reply
    The Quirk
  • I wouldnt cry if Pdivvy was our coach. His main strength is that the players adore him. Plus he beat the All Blacks 4 times in a row, and won a Lions tour. People say the players ran the team…so what? it worked. He might have won the world cup if it wasnt for Bryce

  • Comment 18, posted at 08.10.14 11:28:28 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 18) : Yup I hadn’t thought about PdV as a potential DOR until now but he might actually be the ideal candidate. From JS’s book he is obviously exceptionally good with managing people which I’d imagine is one of the critically important attributes required in that position.

  • Comment 19, posted at 08.10.14 11:53:46 by gregkaos Reply
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  • Lol I have to agree with The Quirk, After BV I’d go with Stemmetjie as well. He’s definitely my favourite, I just hope the CEO considers him at least. Rob, when John took over as CEO you mentioned that your on speaking terms with the guy… Can’t you convey the message to the man to at least take a look at what the fans have to say here on Sharksworld?

  • Comment 20, posted at 08.10.14 11:54:23 by Stiko85 Reply

  • In my opinion, the DOR must be a like a project manager. He is there to oversee everything regarding players to coaches, from schooolboy level up to SuperRugby. Under him should be the head coach, the DOR and the head coach should be working closely together as the head coach should be dictating the style of play of all teams, as you want any player to be able to fit into the senior team seamlessly (similar to what they have at the Bulls where all teams play the same game plan). The head coach should be assisted by a backline coach, forwards coach as well as the following: a full-time scrum consultant, lineout consultant, skills consultant and a full time team psychologist. These consultants then would be employed fulltime and be involved in all of the teams from U21 up to the senior team, as well as be involved with the amateur, schoolboy and junior teams, this would then at least justify paying them a fulltime salary. The DOR then would be responsible for managing all these different entities without having to do any hands on coaching.

  • Comment 21, posted at 08.10.14 11:55:21 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @KingRiaan (Comment 21) : Now that is the type of “Structures” that i believed that Jake White was putting in place…clearly not

  • Comment 22, posted at 08.10.14 12:07:20 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 22) : I personally, don’t think White would make a good DOR, maybe everything would’ve worked out different he was just employed as a head coach in the traditional sense of the word.

  • Comment 23, posted at 08.10.14 12:12:40 by KingRiaan Reply

  • Hey Rob I see you forgot to mention me in your article? šŸ˜‰

  • Comment 24, posted at 08.10.14 12:14:51 by JD Reply
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  • @Stiko85 (Comment 20) : šŸ˜€ They all read sharksworld.

  • Comment 25, posted at 08.10.14 12:15:43 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • So after all the talk of a DOR, I still dont understand fully what they are required to do so I googled it … based upon the following who would you choose? Remembering that a good coach does not a good DOR make

    Job Description – Director of Rugby
    Role Outline
    – Accountable to the club’s Executive Committee for the playing structure of the club.
    – The link from the Executive Committee to the playing side of the club.
    – Responsible for ensuring that coaches fulfil their responsibilities throughout the Club,
    including the Junior and Mini sections.
    Key Objectives
    – Set out a clear strategy for the development of rugby at Sheffield Tigers over the next five
    – Produce a plan setting out how the rugby development strategy will be implemented and
    – Manage and organise the playing structure to provide competitive rugby at all levels of
    both Senior and Junior rugby.
    – Develop individual players skills to enable them to play to their full potential.
    Key Responsibilities
    – Plan and manage all matters relating to coaching throughout the Club.
    – Report monthly to the club’s Executive Committee on playing matters.
    – Manage the playing budget and negotiate player contracts.
    – Recruit players and develop strong squads.
    – Introduce new teams across senior, junior and mini rugby.
    – Research, develop and introduce new coaching formats.
    – Lead and motivate the players, coaching team, team manager and physio.
    – Commit to the personal development of the club’s players and coaches.
    – Ensure, either directly or indirectly, that teams outside the 1
    XV squad are regularly
    watched to enable player progression.
    – Lead the selection procedure of the senior sides.
    – Act as the main press liaison for senior sides.
    – Ensure the widest possible use of rugby facilities at the Club.

    – Work with schools and Universities to strengthen links with Sheffield Tigers.
    – Liaise with other clubs at all levels as appropriate.
    – Liaise with South Yorkshire RFU, Yorkshire RFU and the National RFU as approriate.
    – Co-ordinate the activities of the Groundsman and Fixture Secretary into the playing
    – Work closely with the club Marketing Committee.
    – Undertake any other duties deemed necessary under the direction of the Club Chairman.
    Performance Measures
    Increasing the number of players across Senior, Junior and Mini age groups.
    Continued professional development for all coaching staff.
    Ensuring all personnel comply with the RFU Child Welfare policy.
    Managing the rugby budget prudently.
    Managing the performance of staff and players.
    Providing solutions when targets are not met.
    Minimum of RFU Level 2 and preferably able to achieve Level 3 within twelve months
    Recent and significant experience of coaching rugby union at least at level 3 and/or
    experience of playing at least at level 3.
    Excellent planning and organisational skills
    IT skills including Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint
    Hold a current RFU CRB.
    First aid and Child Protection courses desirable

  • Comment 26, posted at 08.10.14 12:17:35 by byron Reply

  • @KingRiaan (Comment 23) : Would he have just accepted a Head Coach position? But yeh i thought he was a good acquisition but did wonder how he would fit in and then obviously for how long. No use getting a DOR thats here for 1 year…may as well not bother

  • Comment 27, posted at 08.10.14 12:35:15 by SheldonK Reply

  • I’ll provide the counter-point to Peter de Villiers being punted as DoR. His man management skills might be right up there but I fear other necessary skills may be lacking. Administration, contract negotiations, media and club liasons, setting up good youth structures, laying down the law when necessary, providing long-term vision and direction, etc…

    I honestly see him struggling in a lot of those areas.

  • Comment 28, posted at 08.10.14 12:35:30 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 16) : Nowadays you get many coaches that concentrate on one specific skill – i.e. scrum, line out, breakdown (look at the difference Richie Gray has made to the Bok’s breakdown skills), kicking, eye coordination (e.g. Sherylle Calder).

    It seems to make sense for a union to have a team of these specialist coaches available to assist across the board with skills.

  • Comment 29, posted at 08.10.14 12:44:39 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 29) : Or at least some full time and others perhaps on a consulting basis.

  • Comment 30, posted at 08.10.14 12:45:27 by Bokhoring Reply
  • I see JM’s autobiography, Mitch: The Real Story, is out and in bookstores and at Kalahari

    Should be an interesting read

  • Comment 31, posted at 08.10.14 12:46:40 by Baylion Reply

  • I don’t know why they don’t just scrap the idea of a DOR? Get an awesome head coach and let the admin people do what they are paid to do. Let someone like Botes handle the recruitment from next year, Smittie and his staff do the budget’s etc, and let the coach do what he is paid for. Everyone is jumping on the DOR bandwagon, but do we really need one? Isn’t it the CEO’s job to implement his pan and vision by directing the staff he already has? Because in effect, if you appoint a DOR, then a whole lot of people can sit back and earn a salary doing next to nothing, because the DOR is suppose to do it. Or am I sitting the pot miss here?

  • Comment 32, posted at 08.10.14 12:48:51 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @vanmartin (Comment 28) : Well.. He is currently the DOR at UWC doing pretty much that with structures etc. How well he is doing is up in the air of course.

  • Comment 33, posted at 08.10.14 12:49:08 by gregkaos Reply
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  • I must say I find the concept of Pieter deVilliers utterly laughable,please lets just move on,as we say in the business put that one on the Christmas reel.He is not a Natal man and will never gell with the faithful.
    When I look at that excellent [email protected]byron (Comment 26) : I think the best guy for that job description is Brad,he is highly intelligent has an excellent business back ground,was a great player and has excellent media skills.What he might lack is coaching experience,bring in a guy like Swys to cover that.I though Anthony was supposed to compensate for that but apparently he is just as lightweight.

  • Comment 34, posted at 08.10.14 13:01:16 by The hound Reply
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  • @gregkaos (Comment 33) : That’s the problem though, he’s out of the media and limelight and we don’t know what the support structures/staff for him are like that side. All we have to go on as public is his time with the Boks and to a far lesser degree, the junior Bok side. Based on that (and no disrespect to Peter) I’m not crazy about the idea.

  • Comment 35, posted at 08.10.14 13:04:15 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 30) : Yeh look i get what u mean. And thats why i think a defense coach is needed and possible a scrum consultant with the Union rather than a team. But if for instance we have a scrum coach, defense coach, kicking coach, lineout coach….then what exactly are the forward and backline coach doing? Putting out beacons and tackle bags? So yes i think a specialist defense coach is good to have. But a forwards coach must be able to coach the lineout, breakdown and scrum…with perhaps advice from the Union scrum consultant. But if the forwards coach cant do those things adequately then why employ him? I dont want to sound negative etc its just that i think we sometimes employ too many people for the same job in situations.

  • Comment 36, posted at 08.10.14 13:16:32 by SheldonK Reply

  • PDivvy is a coach, not a DoR.

    Think he would be a great addition to the Sharks, just not in a DoR position. Head coach would be better suited to him i think.

  • Comment 37, posted at 08.10.14 13:25:10 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • Sharks team vs the Stormers

    15 Francois Steyn, 14 Sean Robinson, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Ryan Kankowski, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
    Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Riaan Viljoen, 22 Odwa Ndungane

    Only jOooookes, just wanted to see what Rob would do. WWRD. this was the team when we played them in last years Super Rugby.
    Pretty average looking side really.

  • Comment 38, posted at 08.10.14 14:37:30 by John Galt Reply

    John Galt
  • @John Galt (Comment 38) : Only Paul Jordaan and Kyle Cooper,played last week.

  • Comment 39, posted at 08.10.14 14:42:36 by The hound Reply
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  • @John Galt (Comment 38) : 9 of the 22 not playing for the Sharks any longer!!!!

  • Comment 40, posted at 08.10.14 16:15:50 by JD Reply
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  • I see the PDivvie seed is growing…………it’s going to be fun…..

    Anyone think, he’ll be bringing with him the single player MOST responsible for his Lions and 3N triumphs?

    Yes! Y’all guessed correctly!

    Morne Steyn.

  • Comment 41, posted at 08.10.14 17:27:40 by fyndraai Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 41) :

    Funnily enough, I dont think PDivvy naturally likes a player like that.
    I think he stuck with Steyn because (1) there were no alternatives and (2) Steyn brought him results.

    Steyn does look like he could be available… wonder how PAt Lambie feels about playing the bench again… lol.

  • Comment 42, posted at 08.10.14 17:37:08 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 37) : Agreed

  • Comment 43, posted at 08.10.14 17:41:20 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 34) : did you just call Paul Anthony a lightweight? Seriously?

    You know nothing.

  • Comment 44, posted at 08.10.14 17:55:35 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 42) :

    Since Lambie landed that 55m penalty, there’s not much fault to be found in his game. Kudu’s to the Bok kicking coach for extending his range.

    Steyn will do well as backup for SR and CC, though.

    But I don’t see it happening either. Nobody that loves PDivvie (including PDivvie) loves Morne Steyn. It’s funny though, because PDivvie’s Bok successes are so tied to Steyn.

  • Comment 45, posted at 08.10.14 18:53:39 by fyndraai Reply
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  • Off course if Pdivvie does go to the Sharks, the other Steyn, will be out the door faster than an eye gouger in a tutu.

  • Comment 46, posted at 08.10.14 18:58:03 by fyndraai Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 41) : I immediately thought Victor Matfield while reading that question.

  • Comment 47, posted at 08.10.14 20:48:59 by vanmartin Reply
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  • what about carel du plessis as a director of rugby. i always thought that mallets sucess as a coach was based on the structures put in place by du plessis. the vision that he put forward at the time was very forward thinking. he might be a nice fit. any opinions

  • Comment 48, posted at 08.10.14 21:18:34 by byron Reply

  • @The hound (Comment 34) :


  • Comment 49, posted at 09.10.14 00:21:30 by [email protected] Reply

  • @fyndraai (Comment 41) :

    PLEASE NO!!!

  • Comment 50, posted at 09.10.14 00:25:00 by [email protected] Reply

  • @vanmartin (Comment 47) :

    Perhaps he’ll hire Matfield as an assistant coach.

  • Comment 51, posted at 09.10.14 01:08:50 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @fyndraai (Comment 51) : He already has his other assistant to call on.

  • Comment 52, posted at 09.10.14 07:50:22 by Bokhoring Reply
  • PDivvy being bandied about as possibly the next Sharks coach is probably the dumbest fucking thing I’ve heard from bloggers ever.

  • Comment 53, posted at 09.10.14 08:37:12 by John Galt Reply

    John Galt
  • @John Galt (Comment 53) : There could always be Kevin Putt…the second coming šŸ™‚

  • Comment 54, posted at 09.10.14 09:09:55 by SheldonK Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 44) : Please read my post again before you exercise your royal prerogative,I said that I thought Antony was an experienced coach brought in to make up for the relative perceived naivety of Brad and Sean.
    No where on this entire thread including your original article does anyone including you make a case for him taking control of the situation.Therefore the only conclusion is that he is not regarded as heavyweight enough to take take the job,and by a process of simple deduction he is considered a lightweight.Please make a case for why we should reevaluate this.

  • Comment 55, posted at 09.10.14 09:19:05 by The hound Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 54) : Anyone that supported the Sharks during those years will not find your comment very funny šŸ˜›

  • Comment 56, posted at 09.10.14 09:23:07 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Are some of the comments here for real? Botes heading up recruitment? How is he meant to compete with the likes of Get Smal and Strauss? Bring John Mitchell as DOR and let John Smit handle the recruitment. Our boys need a coach that teaches and allows them to play rugby. This was so evident during last year’s CC. You can also see that Brad is using Venter ‘ template during this CC. Brad is not ready to handle a SR side, that person requires someone that understands the game, has the experience, is innovative and strong technical and people’s skills. John is strong in all aspects expect the latter. That can be fixed by giving the backup staff some power.

  • Comment 57, posted at 09.10.14 09:29:42 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • I really hope the Sharks management take their time on this decision, and do a proper evaluation of all candidates. This is really a very important decision for the entire union.

    At the same time some of the measures talked about by JW in his recent interview (i.e. individualized skill, fitness and speed training programs for Super 15 players) sounds worth keeping.

  • Comment 58, posted at 09.10.14 10:06:46 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 58) : Agreed (on both points)

  • Comment 59, posted at 09.10.14 10:55:45 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 57) : I don’t have any problem with Botes doing the recruitment. Ja Smal and Strauss has the name but do any of the youngsters know them? Botes is still young(ish) and he played fully professional rugby (unlike the other two) so he exactly knows the challenges that faces the youngsters will face.

  • Comment 60, posted at 10.10.14 23:43:39 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 60) : If I am a youngster and I receive a call from Gert Smal or Ruldolph Strauli, I am more likely to listen to them before I listen to Botes. If I however, get a call from John Smit, Gert Smal and Rudloe can go play in the traffic. I’ll go with John Smit. My point is recruitment is such an important aspect of a union’s health that it should not at any stage be deemed an area where new guys to the system learn their trade. If you say John and Botes work together on recruitment then fine. It is competitive there guys hence you find players choosing to be the fourth choice loose forward (Lappies) at the Bulls as opposed to being the second choice loose forward number 7 at the Sharks.

  • Comment 61, posted at 11.10.14 10:23:20 by GreatSharksays Reply


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