White set to replace Venter at Sharks

Date published: October 4 2013

Sharks CEO John Smit hopes to finalise ex-Springbok coach Jake White's possible move to Durban within the coming week.

Sharks CEO John Smit hopes to finalise ex-Springbok coach Jake White's possible move to Durban within the coming week.

White quit his post at the Brumbies in September, and many expect him to join forces with Smit, with whom he won the 2007 World Cup.

Smit sought clarity on the situation on Thursday, and made it clear that White would have to fit in with the new structures put in place by current Director of Rugby Brendan Venter.

“Whatever this Jake White thing is, it is an opportunity and we would love to have a World Cup winning coach,” said the former Springbok captain, speaking at the unveiling of Cell C as the union's new title sponsor from 2014.

“I have an incredibly good relationship with Jake and I understand him well.
“Would it be something where he comes in and change everything? No.

“We've got a plan in place and if Jake was willing to be part of that plan or if he took over the role Brendan has and Brendan plays a lesser role, we'll have to see.

“We need to know by next week whether or not he is available, so it has to happen soon.”
The former-Springbok coach's agent, Craig Livingstone, announced that his client's formal exit from the Brumbies was near-concluded, and that he would now be able to begin negotiations for a new role.

“He (White) sought a release from the Brumbies and that can be a bit of a process and we are close to the final stages of that,” he said.

“Once that has been put to bed, I am sure he is going to look at a couple of opportunities and one of those would be at the Sharks.”

Smit, who took control of the Sharks in July, has made wholesale changes to the coaching setup since his arrival. He replaced coach John Plumtree with Venter, and appointed Brad Macleod-Henderson and Sean Everitt as forwards and backs coaches respectively. Paul Anthony had also been contracted to join up with the Sharks from the Bulls U19 post by the end of the year.

“It would be an unbelievable coup for us to do something like this (appoint White),” said Smit.
“It would take the pressure off the inevitable question of when Brendan will have to go and, when would Brad, Sean and Paul be ready.

“It is not a fait accompli, but certainly if it was to become one, we would be very lucky.”

White and Venter are known not to see eye-to-eye, and sources in South Africa suggest that not only will the former will replace the latter at the Sharks, but that Venter only agreed to fulfil his current role until the end of October.

Venter spoke out this week on his arrival at the union, and what he hopes to leave behind when he does depart.

“The reason John Smit asked me to come in was because he wanted an environment much like that at Saracens,” he told the Sharks website.

“We call it a 'principle-driven environment'. We run it by principles and if we all adhere to those principles, we will be successful. If we get good people and treat them very well, they will be successful for us.”

Progress and continual improvement rather than silverware are what Venter cites as his primary goal for the Sharks.
“The main thing for me, my biggest objective, is to leave the Sharks better than when I first arrived. So that when I go away, I've added enough value, so that we can all look back and say 'that was a good time in our lives; that we learned certain things, we did certain things and we explored our own abilities as human beings,' he said.

“I am not really trophy-driven, I'm more performance and individual driven. I want people to become as good as they can be. Winning is nice, but I believe success is a consequence of these things.

“Yes, we will be judged by people on the outside in terms of trophies, but that is not how I judge myself and my players. I have various, quite rigid and difficult measurements and standards that I want the players to live up to. I can measure them and if they deliver those things but we get beaten on the day, then the opposition was just better than us,” he explained.