New Sharks director of rugby Brendan Venter is “very impressed” with the set-up at the rugby union, he said on Monday.
“I’ve obviously worked extensively with a lot of good players before and the Sharks have got a really good squad. Their junior structures here are very healthy,” he told reporters in Durban on Monday.
The Sharks announced a 43-man squad for the Currie Cup, which they kick off against Griquas at Kings Park on Friday.
The former Springbok centre was appointed to the role in June by the new CEO John Smit. He officially moved into the post at the start of August.
Venter was hoping to instill a solid playing structure from the junior levels at the union to the top.
“The Currie Cup has to be seen as the place where players get their opportunity. We need to be making sure this happens and one of the things we’ll be working on is – we’re meeting with the under-19 and under-21 coaches later – is to get the same culture that the main team has got running right through the organisation. We’d like them to be playing in a similar style, something all the successful teams do.”
Venter heads a new coaching system with Sean Everitt and Brad Macleod-Henderson as backs and forwards coaches respectively. Macleod-Henderson said the aim this year was to win the Currie Cup.
“In the process of doing that, some youngsters will be blooded. The Springboks are away so that does create a few more opportunities. Injuries are also bound to happen, so we’ll see some youngsters along the way.”
Among the new recruits for the season is veteran lock Marco Wentzel, signed from Wasps in England, as well as utility backs SP Marais, from the Southern Kings, and Griffons utility back Hansie Graaf.
Three names missing from the squad list were Riaan Viljoen and Jandre Marais. Bok back JP Pietersen has left for Japan.
Keegan Daniel has also been confirmed as captain, with Jacques Botes acting as his deputy.
Sharks Currie Cup Squad:
Willem Alberts Jacques Botes, Anton Bresler, Craig Burden, Dale Chadwick, Marcell Coetzee, Kyle Cooper, Keegan Daniel (captain), Jean Deysel, Justin Downey, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Rayno Gerber, Hansie Graaf, Monde Hadebe, Wiehahn Herbst, Edwin Hewitt, Butch James, Paul Jordaan, Marius Joubert, Francois Kleinhans, Patrick Lambie, Louis Ludik, Peet Marais, Sizo Maseko, Charl McLeod, Danie Mienie, Tendai Mtawarira, Lubabalo Mtembu, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, Cobus Reinach, Sean Robinson, S’bura Sithole, Brynard Stander, Francois Steyn, Jaco van Tonder, Marco Wentzel, Tim Whitehead, Heimar Williams, Fred Zeilinga, SP Marais.