Jake's Sharks dream: Super success

Fri, 22 Nov 2013 13:16
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Jake White is used to, and well equipped, to take struggling teams and turn them into successful units. Now he has to take a successful franchise and make it even better.

Jake White is used to, and well equipped, to take struggling teams and turn them into successful units. Now he has to take a successful franchise and make it even better.

White, who won world championships with South Africa's Under-20 team (2002) and the Springboks (2007 World Cup), took over both those teams in the wake of disastrous that left South Africa cowering from embarrassment.

He also took over the two-time Super Rugby champion Brumbies after they had slumped to an all-time low of 13th and two years later (2013) the men from Canberra played in the Final.

However, it is with some sober reflection - after his first week of pre-season training in Durban - that he starts pondering taking the current Currie Cup champion Sharks (they actually won three titles in the last six years) to even greater heights in 2014.

White, never lacking in confidence, has set the bar very high.

"I have told them they are going to win Super Rugby," the coach said in an interview on the Sharks website, when asked about his message to the players.

"If they don't believe it then it is not going to happen."

White admitted his latest challenge will be different from that when he took over both the Baby Boks and senior Boks.

"The realistic thing is though, I may have taken over a great franchise, but they came eighth in the Super Rugby tournament this year and came fourth out of five South African franchises," the new Sharks coach said.

And it is one tournament they have never won, despite reaching the play-offs eight times - four times finishing runners-up.

As has become customary with White, those lofty goals will only be achieved through hard work.

"All it is, is head-down-bum-up, hard work," the former Bok mentor said.

"That was the motto we had at the Brumbies and that is all any loyal supporter wants to see.

"If we work hard, put the hours in, prepare, and do whatever we can to the best we can, then the success will come.

"That is all I've said to these boys: let's just make sure that we work harder than everyone else."

And if the players are expected to work hard, the coaching staff will lead by example.

"I must say this first week has been hectic," he explained.

"I get here early at 07.00 in the morning and leave at 18.00. That's just because there such a lot of stuff to do. I probably haven't settled like I'd like to yet, but when you start in a new environment you've got to make sure everything is in place.

"But I'm just really chuffed to be here, it's great to be back in South Africa, and I'm excited to be at the Sharks and what is possible here."

The Sharks players not on Springbok duty returned on Monday for Super Rugby pre-season training, following a three week break after the Currie Cup.

Now there is also a new coaching structure for Super Rugby.

"Paul Anthony is the forwards coach, Brad Macleod-Henderson will be the technical analyst who will also work with players on individual skills and breakdown work, looking after those specialised areas.

"Sean Everitt will take the backs and I'll head up the defence, but I'll have consultants that will work with us on all areas of our game.

"I will try get a couple of guys that I respect as coaches to come in and up-skill some of our coaches in some of the areas that I think we need to be up-skilled in, whether we get a kicking, a line-out or scrum guy. It just helps in terms of the personal development of the coaches we have here."

And do the Sharks have the team to accomplish their goal?

"I'm very happy with the squad. Everyone in the world would like to have stronger squads, but, in saying that, the talent here is phenomenal and I can compare apples with apples. Comparing a side like the Brumbies who came second this year, to a franchise like the Sharks; there is unbelievable talent here. From 19-year-olds right up to Springboks."

Source: sharksrugby.co.za

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