‘New approach for us’

2014-10-28 00:00

IT seems that the Sharks will be given a new lease on life under newly appointed director of rugby Gary Gold.

With the departure of Jake White, the Sharks have a chance to refine their game that many fans were beginning to grumble about. White’s kick-and-chase game plan may have won a World Cup, but didn’t seem to suit the Sharks and it showed when they crashed out in the semi-finals of this year’s Super Rugby competition.

If Gold’s words are to be believed, the Durban outfit will be keeping the ball in hand a lot more next season — mainly due to Gold’s view on how the game is developing.

Speaking at the his formal announcement as Sharks director of rugby, Gold said the sport has shifted to a focus on running the ball and scoring tries, moving away from conservative kicking styles.

“I have a philosophy in terms of the way I believe the game is going at the moment for us to be successful. You’re not going to win Super Rugby games 9-6 by kicking three penalties — you have to score tries and I think that’s going to be a massive focus for us,” Gold said. “We want to work really hard on our attack and our attack structures …”

Gold also placed emphasis on striking a balance between attack and defence, but his preoccupation with an attacking mindset is also linked to the quality of players the Sharks have.

The likes of Pat Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, JP Pietersen, Ryan Kankowski, Cobus Reinach and S’bura Sithole to name just a few, are crying out for a game plan that suits their attacking capabilities. It is just another reason why Gold decided to join the Sharks.

“I really believe we have got the players who can do it. I think there are some outstandingly exciting players here who want the ball in their hands and they want to go score tries so it’s a recipe for success.”

That recipe seems to be ringing true. Both the 2014 Super Rugby final as well as the Currie Cup final last weekend were fantastic adverts for rugby and a promising feature was the way the teams held onto the ball and worked through countless phases.

Although most sides still try to play the game in opposition halves, both those finals saw plenty of running rugby as teams had their eyes on scoring tries in order to win the games.

Gold will join the Sharks after he has completed his contractual obligations as head coach of Japanese club Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers. He is set to join the Sharks as early as possible — depending on how his team fares in the Japanese league.

He will be assisted by Brendan Venter, who joins in more of a consultancy role due to his obligations to his medical practice in Cape Town, while Brad Macleod-Henderson, Sean Everitt and Paul Anthony are all staying on as assistant coaches.

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