Smit regrets Plumtree exit

Date published: August 13 2016

Former Sharks chief executive John Smit has revealed that he made a mistake sacking John Plumtree as head coach in a "colossal stuff-up".

Smit, who came into the job after leaving Saracens as a player, was keen to freshen up the coaching at the Durban side early in his tenure.

But he has now admitted to being at fault, explaining that the public nature of Plumtree's proposed exit had left the New Zealand coach angry.

"I would have saved everybody a lot of pain if I had told Plum that he would have another season as head coach while I found a successor, because I felt that we needed to freshen up the coaching after Plum had been in charge for a long time," Smit told the Natal Mercury.

"Plum had asked for a one-year extension before I took charge and that might have helped had that been granted."

It has since emerged that Plumtree discovered that his job was up for grabs via the media, which left a sour taste on the training ground.

"Plum was incensed. I recall trying to talk to him after a Sharks training session towards the end of the 2013 Super Rugby season and he was so furious that he would not make eye contact with me as he stormed off," continued Smit.

"I understand why he was so angry. I would have liked to have spoken to him about a coaching succession plan, but we never got to have that conversation. It was a colossal stuff-up."

Following his departure, Plumtree moved to the Hurricanes where as an assistant coach he helped them to runner-up and Super Rugby winners in consecutive years.