Recruiting Jake White a masterstroke, says Errol Stewart

2013-09-27 00:00

THE Sharks have all but confirmed the appointment of former Springbok coach Jake White to the position of director of coaching.

Former Proteas stand-in wicketkeeper and Natal rugby player Errol Stewart told The Witness bringing Jake White in was a masterstroke by Sharks chief executive officer John Smit.

“It’s what we expected to see from John Smit coming in as CEO. He’s come in and brought in fresh ideas to the job,” he said.

Speaking about White, Stewart said: “His pedigree speaks for itself. Whatever he has touched has turned into gold.”

After being eliminated at the quarter-finals of the 2003 Rugby World Cup, White transformed the Springboks into world champions four years later in 2007.

And, in two years coaching in Australia, White was able to restore the pride to the once proud Brumbies after a few mediocre years.

Smit also said Brendan Venter’s appointment was never meant to be a long-term option.

“Brendan’s been unbelievably committed. He has a medical practice in Cape Town and still has a role at Saracens so he’s been spreading his time pretty thin.

“The idea behind Venter’s appointment was to bring in someone who had new ideas. With him, it was always a short-term thing. He’s done really well.

“The Sharks are top of the log and he’s brought in fresh ideas, and Jake will take them further,” said Stewart.

With former All Blacks coach John Mitchell also settling in KwaZulu-Natal, Stewart hoped the two of them would sit down from time to time to share their ideas about the game.

Mitchell was recently appointed as the director of rugby at Varsity Shield side, the UKZN Impis.

“If you look at where KZN rugby is sitting at the moment, there are some highly talented individuals, and it’s exciting.”

Another former player, and current coach of the UKZN Impis, Shawn van Rensburg, shared Stewart’s sentiments.

“I think Jake White is the answer for the Sharks. When John Smit took over as CEO, we always thought that Jake White would come in. He has unbelievable experience, and it is good for the Sharks,” he told The Witness.

“When my brother — Clinton van Rensburg — and I were at the Lions, he was our fitness instructor and he was unbelievable.”

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