Assistants to see Sharks through

2013-06-27 00:00

HUGH Reece-Edwards and Grant Bashford will fill the hole left by discarded Sharks head coach John Plumtree for the final three games of the Super Rugby tournament.

The two, who were Plumtree’s assistants, were informed by incoming Sharks CEO John Smit yesterday morning that they would take the squad through the rest of the ill-fated campaign.

The Sharks’ statement read: “With the exception of John Plumtree, the Sharks coaching structure will remain unchanged for the remainder of the Super Rugby tournament. Assistant coaches Grant Bashford and Hugh-Reece Edwards will assume the main coaching responsibilities for our remaining three games.”

It is all but confirmed that Bashford and Reece-Edwards will vacate their present posts at the end of Super Rugby with the 36-year-old Hilton College coach Brad MacLeod-Henderson, who played alongside Smit with the Sharks, and Vodacom Cup coach Sean Everitt taking over. The two are currently coaching the Sharks U21 squad.

Brendan Venter, the Saracens technical director and Cape Town doctor, will join the Sharks in August as the director of coaching.

Reece-Edwards told The Witness yesterday that he was not sure what the future held for him.

“It’s all up in the air at the moment. I don’t know whether I will be involved in any way with the Sharks after Super Rugby. Bashie and I are contracted until the end of the year and I’m sure things will become clearer once Smitty [John Smit] takes over officially [as CEO] on Monday.”

Reece-Edwards said he hoped to remain in coaching.

“I really enjoy being involved in the game, but I’ll just have to wait and see what happens over the next few weeks.”

The former Springbok fullback said that his focus for the moment was on the Sharks’ game against the Auckland Blues on Saturday — “my loyalty is to the Sharks team”.

He said the week had been a difficult one with a dozen players rejoining the squad following injury and Test duty and then Plumtree suddenly departing the scene.

“Obviously there have been disruptions, but we have tried hard to separate what is happening on and off the field.

“That is the major issue and that has been our emphasis this week, focusing the players on what they have to do on Saturday. Our senior players have to stand up and provide the leadership.”

Reece-Edwards said the team had been selected, as usual, on Tuesday morning when Plumtree was still involved in the preparations.

“We still have one or two injury concerns and we’ll announce the side tomorrow [today] once we are happy the players are all fit and ready for Saturday,” Reece-Edwards said.

One of the players who will be assessed is Butch James, who suffered bruised ribs in the friendly against the Golden Lions on Friday night.

James, if fit, could play at either flyhalf or inside centre, depending on whether the coaches want Pat Lambie at 10 or 12.

The return of seven Springboks from national duty, and Louis Ludik, Cobus Reinach and Jacques Botes from injury, will also boost the squad.

And the Sharks need all the help they can get.

The match kicks off at 2.50 pm on Saturday.

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