Jake's presence 'revs up' the Sharks
Jake's presence 'revs up' the SharksSHARE
They still have a Currie Cup competition to win, without him, but the mere presence of Jake White is already revving up the Sharks.
Their new Director of Rugby, White, was a spectator at the Sharks training session on Tuesday and will also be just a spectator for their top-of-the-table match against Western Province in Durban on Saturday.
While White will also "observe" the Durban-based franchise from the stands during the play-offs, he is already having an "influence' on the mood in the camp – well ahead of his formal arrival, when he takes over from Brendan Venter at the end of October.
The former Springbok coach was unveiled on Monday, signing a three-year deal with the Sharks.
Sharks flank Jean Deysel admitted White's arrival was a "massive boost" to the union.
"His reputation speaks for itself," the big forward said.
"He's a great coach, a World Cup winner and he did a brilliant job with the Brumbies. He took them all the way to the final.
"I'm one of the guys that hasn't played under Jake yet, but I'm looking forward to it.
"All these guys are [excited] and we're very excited about the future."
White's first match in charge of the Sharks will be when they play the Pretoria-based Bulls in the opening round on February 15, but there is a potentially more explosive date on the horizon.
White will head back to Canberra on May 10 for a clash with the Brumbies.
The World Cup-winning coach recently severed ties with the Canberra-based Brumbies – two years early – to take up the post in Durban.
* Meanwhile Deysel welcomed the return of their Springbok players ahead of the Sharks' final Currie Cup league clash against WP on Saturday.
The Du Plessis brothers, Jannie and Bismarck, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Tendai Mtawarira, Marcell Coetzee and Patrick Lambie were all back training at Kings Park on Tuesday and were expected to play some part in the top-of-the-table clash.
Willem Alberts, however, has been ruled out due to a neck injury he suffered against New Zealand in the final Rugby Championship game at the weekend.
"It's brilliant having them back," Deysel said after training.
"They bring a different dimension to the side, they bring some experience to the side, so it's awesome having them.
"From training yesterday [Monday] and today [Tuesday], they slotted in quite well, so they're going to play a massive part in the weekend and the games to come."
Deysel said some of the younger players were also happy to make way for the returning senior players.
"[Current Director of Rugby] Brendan [Venter] is quite a honest guy and that's what we appreciate from him," he said.
"We had a meeting about this way back, so everybody knew what's happening and he will do what's best for the team on the day."
The Sharks have employed a highly successful rotation policy throughout the competition, before moving towards selecting their best available match-day 22 as of last weekend.
"I think a lot of the youngsters got their first opportunity in the Currie Cup and they've surprised us all," said Deysel.
"They've settled themselves in well.
"This whole campaign is proof of it. So we're looking forward to the clash with the Boks back, but at the same time we're also happy with those that have played a part this season."