I think it’s a fantastic draw
Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White has given an enthusiastic thumbs-up to his team’s Super Rugby draw for next season.
Whilst the euphoria of being crowned Currie Cup Champs back in October may have died down, White is hoping that the players continue to enjoy the winning feeling as they chase a maiden Super Rugby crown.
The Durban side will start their season with a number of home games, along with an early bye, which is something that White is pleased about.
“I think it’s a fantastic draw,” he said.
Some might argue that the bye early on doesn’t have the same impact as later when bodies have taken a greater pounding for a longer period, but White believes otherwise.
“Both times when I was coaching the Brumbies, when we did well, it coincided with us having our byes early on,” he pointed out. “A lot of people initially thought that was a negative because it would break your rhythm, but we get two byes almost in the first month, and that’s fantastic because what it allows is for the competition to unfold on its own without you being involved.
“You can also get a feel for how the referees are going to blow things and what the emphasis will be on early on. Also with the 11 Springboks we have, having a bye early on also allows them to freshen up for what’s in store for them for the rest of the year.”
White finds himself in a different coaching scenario to what he has experienced before. Taking over the Springboks in 2004 when they were at a low point, as well as an inexperienced Brumbies side that had lost the core of their players. Both sides achieved beyond expectations. But it’s different at an established side like the Sharks.
“I never wanted to be known as the chap who always takes over teams that are finished, as in you always have to pick them up from the ashes,” he admitted. “By default it has always happened like that for me, the times when I have joined teams it is almost as if it doesn’t matter what happens; they can only go up.
“But we are settled, we have senior players, Currie Cup winners and a positive energy, which is great. They’ve got everything in place, so it is great time to take over.
“But what I’ve stressed to the players is that I want to start from day one with everyone having a fair understanding of what I’m looking for in a player.
White has reportedly been in touch with Kings captain Luke Watson about playing for the Sharks next season.
Watson is still recovering from an ankle injury he picked up playing Super Rugby for the Kings, and will only be back to full fitness early next year, but with the Kings not playing Super Rugby he is looking to play elsewhere on loan.