Sharks deny talks of offer to Mallett

2013-06-11 00:00

SHARKS CEO Brian van Zyl and Graham MacKenzie, president of the KZN Rugby Union, yesterday both categorically denied that an offer had been made to Nick Mallett to take over as head coach at King’s Park.

Mallett said at the weekend that he had been approached by the Sharks to take over from current Sharks coach John Plumtree. The former Springbok coach said he had turned down the offer.

Van Zyl told The Witness yesterday he “knew absolutely nothing about an offer to Mallett or any other coach to take over from Plum”.

“I haven’t spoken to Nick Mallett for four or five years and certainly nothing was said at the last Sharks board meeting in April about Plum’s position.”

Van Zyl is to retire at the end of the year and he is to be replaced by John Smit. The former Springbok captain will join Van Zyl on July 1 and will spend the next six months learning the ropes before taking over.

Van Zyl said that as far as he was aware the board had decided to offer John Plumtree a two-year extension on his contract.

“But this will be negotiated by John Smit,” said Van Zyl.

Van Zyl said he was looking forward to retirement at the end of the year.

“I will be mentoring John [Smit] for the next few months and I’m happy about that.”

MacKenzie said he was astonished to read yesterday that Mallett had turned down a Sharks offer.

“I don’t know where that comes from. Certainly there was no board decision to approach him.”

MacKenzie said that possibly someone had informally sounded out Mallett to see if he would be available to coach the Sharks at some stage in the future.

“I don’t know if that happened, but ultimately it is going to be John Smit who makes the operational decisions and not only about the coaching post.

“He has to build his own team for the future,” said MacKenzie.

Stephen Saad, chairperson of the Sharks board, could not be reached yesterday, but suggested — through his secretary — that The Witness should contact John Smit for comment.

Smit returned to Durban from London on Saturday, but attempts to reach him yesterday were unsuccessful.

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