Super Rugby

Sharks to go internal with Du Preez coach replacement?

Sean Everitt (Gallo)
Sean Everitt (Gallo)

Durban - The new Sharks coach for Super Rugby 2020 will need to immerse himself in Durban and deeply understand the culture of the union and its players. 

That is the view of Eduard Coetzee, who will officially take over as Sharks CEO from September 1, replacing the outgoing Gary Teichmann. 

With Robert du Preez now ousted as head coach, the Sharks are experiencing the dawn of a new era and Coetzee is at the helm. 

In an interview with Sport24 on Monday, the 39-year-old former loosehead prop confirmed that the Sharks are currently in the process of seeking Du Preez's replacement and that he is hoping to have a resolution "sooner rather than later". 

Whichever way they go, the Sharks will look to recover from a Du Preez era that ended in strange fashion. 

A no-nonsense coach with very little time for the press, Du Preez had labelled the Durban media "cockroaches" by the time he had left while he was also accused of nepotism by continually selecting his son, Robert du Preez, at flyhalf ahead of the in-form Curwin Bosch. 

The Sharks did win the 2018 Currie Cup under Du Preez, but the task at hand now is to restore a feeling of team culture to Kings Park following a tumultuous time there. 

Du Preez and his three sons - Robert, Jean-Luc and Dan - have now all moved on from the union and whoever comes in will be starting from scratch. 

Listening to Coetzee, it sounds like current Currie Cup coach Sean Everitt could be in the running. 

"We are going through a process to see who there is and I think a lot of people feel the Sharks brand, and rightly so, should have a top coach," Coetzee said. 

"I don't disagree with that at all, but what I'm trying to say is that maybe a top coach is here.

"We've got to define what the right coach is for the Sharks. We've got to look at culture, where his love is, where he grew up and what he knows. Where does he want to be? Are they prepared to get immersed in Durban?

"You can't have a flatline coach for the Sharks ... you've got to live the culture, drive the culture and make sure you know the players. That's what we're looking for.

"We'd like to sort that out sooner rather than later."

If they are to replace Du Preez internally, then Everitt surely emerges as the frontrunner. He has been involved at the union since 2008, from age group level through to Super Rugby, and he has an IRB Level 3 coaching qualification.

Everitt had worked as a Super Rugby assistant coach under Gary Gold, but was relegated to the Under-19s under Du Preez in 2018 where they enjoyed a hugely successful year. 

Perhaps most significantly, though, Everitt is a KwaZulu-Natal product, and that is important to Coetzee and the Sharks board as they plot the way forward. 

"The culture is one of the reasons that I came here in 2000 when I left," Coetzee, a Bull at the time, said. 

"I played SA Under-21 and in that same team I played with was Butch James and I just wanted what they had. I didn't know what it was, but I could see that they were happy and they had fun. 

"That's what we want to bring back. We want to be the place where young players want to play. We want to treat them unbelievably well, give them the best coaching in a great environment and then if we contract our talent pool towards a certain skill set then they will play a certain way.

"The coaching will reflect that. If you look at Sean Everitt, he is very much aimed at attack and Dave Williams is a fantastic attack coach.

"We definitely want to play a brand of rugby that will bring people back but I'm nervous to say that, because everyone says it.

"I would rather have a group of players that are happy, content and have balanced lives where they study ... and I think the fruit of all that will be good rugby."

Everitt was promoted to the position of head coach for the 2019 Currie Cup campaign, where the Sharks have lost to Griquas and then beat Western Province. 

They have a bye this week.

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