Sharks coaching staff and players excited by contract with Jake White

2013-10-09 00:00

THE contracting of Jake White by the Sharks has been hailed by the coaching staff and the players, while it was yesterday confirmed that not all the returning Springboks would start against Western Province at King’s Park on Saturday.

Backline coach Sean Everitt said both he and Brad Macleod-Henderson welcomed the naming of White as the Sharks’ new director of rugby.

“We came in as relatively inexperienced Currie Cup coaches this year so it’s a wonderful opportunity for Brad and me to work with Jake,” said Everitt.

“We all know what Jake can do, he has a Rugby World Cup winner’s medal behind him, so it’s a huge opportunity for us to learn from someone with his expertise.

“At the same time, we’ve learned a lot from Brendan [Venter]. The results speak for themselves and the environment that’s been created here is awesome.

“We’re very fortunate to be able to work with coaches of this calibre.”

Sharks flank Jean Deysel said the players were excited by the changes.

“Jake is a great coach, a World Cup winner who did a brilliant job with the Brumbies. I’m one of the guys that hasn’t played under Jake yet, but his reputation speaks for itself. All the guys are ready to welcome him.”

Looking ahead to Saturday night, Everitt said that injured flank Willem Alberts and flyhalf Pat Lambie would not start against Province.

“We will know the extent of Willem’s injury later in the week.”

Everitt said that Lambie would start in the semi-final the following weekend, but would play off the bench against Province on Saturday night.

“This will give him an opportunity to learn all the calls as we are very flyhalf-orientated in our approach.

“We won’t consider Pat at fullback for two reasons. SP Marais has done really well for us so we’re not going to tamper with that. At the same time, Pat’s also in contention for the Springbok number 10 jersey at the end of the year so selecting him at fullback would be an injustice to him.”

But the four tight forwards returning from the Springboks, Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis, Beast Mtawarira and Pieter-Steph du Toit, would be used, he said.

“Jannie, Bismarck and Beast will add a bit of beef in the front row for us and [lock] Pieter-Steph comes in as well.

“Pieter-Steph has done really well for us and hasn’t had much rugby, so it will be good for him and will give him an opportunity to prove himself to [Bok coach] Heyneke Meyer.”

Everitt said that the coaching staff had been impressed with the approach of the Springboks at training this week.

“Jannie and Beast, despite starting every Test this year, returned with a wonderful attitude.”

He said that the backline would be the same as the one that started against the Blue Bulls last Friday, apart from a change at scrumhalf, where Charl McLeod would replace Cobus Reinach.

Reports from Cape Town indicate that WP coach Allister Coetzee would include all six of his returning Springboks in his match squad on Saturday, though overplayed captain Jean de Villiers and backrower Duane Vermeulen could start off the bench.

Flank Siya Kolisi, lock Eben Etzebeh and centre Juan de Jongh are certain to start (kick-off 7.10 pm). Both teams have already sealed home semi-finals.

“We will always pick the strongest possible team. Some of our Boks will definitely start this week,” Coetzee said.

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