Sharks poised for White 'coup'

Thu, 03 Oct 2013 22:09
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Sharks chief executive John Smit says he hopes to put to bed soon the question of whether Jake White is available to join the union.

Sharks chief executive John Smit says he hopes to put to bed, as soon as possible, the question of whether Jake White is available to join the union.

Smit said White would have to fit in with the new structures which director of rugby Brendan Venter had put in place at the Sharks.

"Whatever this Jake White thing is, it is an opportunity and we would love to have a World Cup winning coach," said the former Springbok captain.

"I have an incredibly good relationship with Jake and I understand him well. Would it be something where he comes in and change everything? No.

"We’ve got a plan in place and if Jake was willing to be part of that plan or if he took over the role Brendan has and Brendan plays a lesser role, we'll have to see.

"We need to know by next week whether or not he is available, so it has to happen soon."

White’s agent Craig Livingstone said the coach’s release from the Brumbies had more or less been wrapped up and they would now be able to enter formal negotiations for available positions.

"He (White) sought a release from the Brumbies and that can be a bit of a process and we are close to the final stages of that," Livingstone said.

"Once that has been put to bed, I am sure he is going to look at a couple of opportunities and one of those would be at the Sharks."

Since taking charge of the Sharks in July, Smit has made sweeping changes, sacking coach John Plumtree and appointing Venter as the Director of Rugby.

Shortly before the start of the Currie Cup season, Brad Macleod-Henderson and Sean Everitt were appointed as the forwards and backline coaches, respectively, while Bulls under-19 coach Paul Anthony had also been contracted to join the coaching unit by the end of the year.

"It would be an unbelievable coup for us to do something like this (appoint White).

"It would take the pressure off the inevitable question of when Brendan will have to go and, when would Brad, Sean and Paul be ready," Smit said.

"It is not a fait accompli, but certainly if it was to become one, we would be very lucky."

Smit’s decision to replace Plumtree with a relatively young coaching team initially raised eyebrows and when the team lost their first Currie Cup match of the season, against Griquas in Durban, it seemed like Smit’s gamble would come back to haunt him.

However, the team has since gone from strength-to-strength in the competition and were set to claim a home semifinal.

Smit said he could not have asked for a better start to his tenure as chief executive, but admitted he had had a nervous start.

"The first weekend against Griquas, there might have been a few drops of sweat from my brow, but it has been incredible to see how receptive the players have been," Smit said.

"I don’t think you can find a team that had more distractions, more change put on top of them and yet, all they’ve done has gotten better and better every single weekend.

"That is the most encouraging thing, because it means what has been implemented from a coaching point of view is what I am after."

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