Coach denies story of move to NZ

2010-01-18 00:00

SHARKS coach John Plumtree has denied New Zealand reports that he will be leaving Durban at the end of the year to return to the Hurricanes.

The Sunday News reported in New Zealand that Plumtree was in line to coach the Hurricanes in next year’s Super 15.

The highly-respected Plumtree coached the Wellington team from 2001 to 2006 before joining the Sharks.

Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper has already confirmed he will be leaving the Hurricanes before next season, and six coaches are reportedly in line for the post. Sunday News reported that Plumtree has already applied, with Clermont coach Vern Cotter and former All Black hooker Mark Hammett also in contention.

Plumtree’s current contract with the Sharks runs until the end of this year, but he told The Witness last night that there was no truth in the New Zealand story.

“I definitely have not applied for the job. I was asked to put my name forward as one of the candidates but I have not. I would certainly discuss any such planned move with the Sharks before making an application,” he said.

Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl said yesterday that any planned move by Plumtree back to New Zealand “is news to me”.

“Plum’s contract with the Sharks is until the end of 2010 and we have not spoken about 2011.”

The paper said that the New Zealand Rugby Union had targeted a number of high-profile Kiwis coaching overseas and notified them of the Hurricanes vacancy at the end of the year. The report said both Plumtree and Cotter had shown interest and made applications.

“Not so,” said Plumtree, “I don’t know where they got that story.”

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