Sharks CEO bemoans underhand activities

2013-06-13 00:00

AMID the back-stabbing and underhand activities at King’s Park this past week, the Sharks have signed three of their high profile players for next year.

Springbok backrower Ryan Kankowski, in spite of many stories that he was to leave Durban after being dropped by Sharks coach John Plumtree, has signed for next year’s Super Rugby season. Kankowski, at present with the Springbok sevens squad, will again play club rugby in Japan later this year before returning to Durban in February.

Springbok loosehead prop Beast Mtawarira has also confirmed that he will be back with the Sharks for the 2014 season whileTest wing JP Pietersen has signed another two-year deal.

Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl said that contract negotiations with the Du Plessis brothers, Bismarck and Jannie, were in progress.

Van Zyl told The Witness yesterday he was unhappy with all the unethical wheeling and dealing that was going on in Sharks rugby and the shabby way discarded coach Plumtree had been treated.

“I only heard on Monday morning for the very first time that Plum was to be fired and then I was sworn to secrecy,” said the current Sharks CEO.

Ironically, Van Zyl had found himself in a similar position back in April when he was told overnight by the Sharks board that he was to be replaced by Smit.

Van Zyl is convinced that Plumtree should not have been axed.

“The Sharks board decided on November 27 that Plumtree should be offered a two-year extension of his contract and this was confirmed at the first board meeting this year [on April 15]. There were one or two minor adjustments to his contract and it was decided to wait until after Super Rugby to sign it.”

But the appointment of Smit has changed everything and Plumtree, a coach much in demand around the world last November, now faces an uncertain future.

“I want it on the record that I wanted Plum retained, but I was over-ruled,” said Van Zyl. “Plum has been a bloody good coach, loyal and knowledgeable, and the Sharks have won two trophies and reached three other finals during his five years in charge.”

What is certain is that John Smit, the heir apparent to Van Zyl’s position as CEO, was “contacting” potential replacement coaches, such as as Nick Mallett and Brendan Venter, some weeks ago, when the Sharks were still in Super Rugby contention and Plumtree believed he had a two-year contract waiting to be signed.

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