Taking charge of Sharks

2014-10-25 00:00

GARY Gold’s appointment as the Sharks’ new director of rugby was an easy decision for CEO John Smit, considering their history and their vision for the franchise.

After Jake White’s departure last month, the Sharks went looking for a new man to take charge of the side and Smit told a press conference yesterday that their previous working relationships made it a “no-brainer”.

“I would say it’s instrumental in me knowing what kind of a person Gary is. I haven’t made it a secret that anyone I would want to get involved with needs to be good inside as a core before we had a look at their skill set,” said Smit.

“That really came down to a four-year relationship [at the Springboks], with Gary taking the pack of forwards in what was an enjoyable time to be in the Bok team and I think he had a big part to do with that.”

Gold’s appointment was made official yesterday and it was confirmed that he would take charge once he has finished his contractual obligations as head coach of Japanese club Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers.

He will be heading back to Japan soon to finish the season before joining the Sharks in January, depending on how his side fairs in the Japanese domestic league. It was also confirmed that Brendan Venter would come on board once again in a consultancy capacity.

The current Currie Cup coaching staff of Brad Macleod-Henderson, Sean Everitt and Paul Anthony will stay on as assistant coaches for the 2015 season. The coaches will plan out the pre-season before Gold heads back over the Indian Ocean. Smit believes that having a group of experienced coaches will be influential in creating a positive environment at the Sharks.

“As Gary will be the director of rugby, Brendan will come in once a week, depending on what skill-set is the emphasis of that week,” said Smit. “It’s really to just get the influence of Brendan, his energy and the fact that he does a lot of research on the game and understands it — having another brain among our coaching staff,” Smit said.

Part of Gold and Venter’s inclusion is their shared philosophy on creating a holistic environment that focuses on player development from junior structures upwards. Having first worked together in 2000 at London Irish, Gold believes their vision for the Sharks is one and the same.

“I don’t necessarily believe it’s just in the game plan or what you do off a full lineout. I believe it’s in the details of the individuals you’ve got and how we can get the best out of them,” said the new addition to the Sharks camp. “The environment has to be conducive to them wanting to play good rugby and enjoy what they’re doing. We believe we can share that vision with the players, and I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but I’m saying it’s going to be worth it. It’s about striking a balance with the players and I believe they have a strong desire to be successful.”

As part of his role as director of rugby, Gold hopes to streamline team structures from the senior sides into the age-group teams at the Sharks so that players can move up through the system to one day play at the highest levels.

The Sharks are due to begin their preseason training on November 17.

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