Hands-on role for Venter

2013-07-18 00:00

TO the surprise of no one, Brad Macleod-Henderson and Sean Everitt were yesterday confirmed as the Sharks’ new rugby coaches.

Macleod-Henderson, the former Sharks backrow forward, and Everitt have for the past month been linked with a new-look coaching panel that will be headed by Brendon Venter.

After the Auckland Blues game in Durban at the end of June, discarded coach John Plumtree even went as far as to wish “Brad and Sean the best of luck with the Sharks”.

But surprisingly, new Sharks CEO John Smit yesterday refuted suggestions that the pair would be in charge of the Currie Cup squad and said they would be answering to the Cape Town-based Venter.

Smit, seeking to refresh Sharks rugby, said that Venter, the new director of rugby, would play a hands-on role as head coach, attending every practice and every match.

Macleod-Henderson, he said, would be the forwards’ coach, with Everitt taking charge of the backs.

Venter, Macleod-Henderson and Everitt replace the experienced coaching team of Plumtree, Grant Bashford and Hugh Reece-Edwards.

Smit also said that former Springbok lock Marco Wentzel, who has been playing club rugby for Wasps in England, would be joining the Sharks ahead of the Currie Cup campaign and would both play and coach at King’s Park.

The 34-year-old has made a considerable impact in England and Smit believes he will add value to the Sharks on and off the field.

Smit added that the highly regarded Bulls U19 coach Paul Anthony will join the Sharks’ coaching team at the end of 2013 for next year’s Super Rugby tournament.

Macleod-Henderson was the College Rovers coach for three years (2009-11) before taking up the post as director of rugby at Hilton College.

He and Everitt have also been involved with the Sharks U21 in 2012 and 2013.

Macleod-Henderson said yesterday that he was chuffed with his appointment.

“It’s a great opportunity, a great honour and something I’m really looking forward to,” he said, adding that the new coaching panel would not be trying to reinvent the wheel.

“The game is always evolving, always changing, so it’s important to stay abreast of developments,” the 37-year-old said.

“It’s also important to look at your personnel and get the best out of your players, which is an eclectic mix of what you have and how you see the game going. “

Macleod-Henderson said the Sharks’ Currie Cup squad would start preparations for the new campaign next week ahead of their opening game against Griquas in Durban on August 9.

“We will maintain things that have worked well, look to simplify things a bit and make sure that everyone understands 100% what their roles are, while creating an environment where the players are happy and can play their best rugby.”

Everitt said he was also excited about the season ahead.

“It’s going to be challenging. Obviously it’s everyone’s ambition to get to the top and being involved with the Sharks is a realisation of that dream,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to working with some of the guys I worked with in the past.”

Everitt has coached the Sharks at U19 and U21 levels and has been in charge of the Vodacom Cup side.

“The Currie Cup has a lot of tradition and I was lucky to be involved in 2008 when the Sharks beat the Bulls in the final. I saw the effect it had on the city, so we’re under no illusions as to how important it is.”

Everitt said he was optimistic about the future.

“The squad we have at our disposal is going to be good and it’s certainly strong enough to compete for a place in the final. It’s a good mixture of exciting youth and experience.”

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