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John Smit

John Smit

John Smit

With the franchise struggling in year’s Super Rugby competition, Sharks CEO John Smit has written an open letter to their fans.

The Durbanites are currently 11th on the overall Super Rugby log, having won just 4 out of 11 matches.

Their players have also been punished for ill-discipline, with Bismarck du Plessis (4 weeks), Frans Steyn (5 weeks) and Jean Deysel (7 weeks) all copping bans during the current campaign.

Fans have expressed their disappointment via several social media platforms, with many blaming new Director of Rugby Gary Gold  for the team’s performances, while others also hit out at Smit.

Smit on Wednesday opted for the unusual route of writing a letter to the concerned fans.


The Sharks shared Smit’s letter via their official Facebook page:

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Brendan Venter

Brendan Venter

John Smit has defined the role that Brendan Venter will play at the Sharks with the former Saracens Director of Rugby coming in once a week as a technical advisor.

Smit’s big appointments since his former World Cup-winning coach Jake White walked out has been to bring in two men who coached the CEO during his playing career – Gary Gold, who was assistant coach to Peter de Villiers and Venter, who coached him at Saracens.

Gold has been installed as the hands-on head coach of the Sharks and will be assisted by the three Currie Cup coaches in Brad Macleod-Henderson, Paul Anthony and Sean Everitt.

Venter will be adding technical support and advice with Smit hoping to tap into his ‘intellectual property’ of how the game works.

“Brendan will provide intellectual property in terms of where the game is going, discussing trends and helping with detail,” Smit told the Sharks website..

“He will come in once a week depending on the emphasis of the skill-set for that week.

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Brendan Venter

Brendan Venter

Gary Gold

Gary Gold

The Cell C Sharks have made two key appointments – Gary Gold as Director of Rugby and Brendan Venter as Technical Director.

Cell C Sharks Chief Executive Officer, John Smit, confirmed the appointment of former the Springbok assistant coach, Gold, as the Sharks’ new Director of Rugby.

However, the appointment of Venter – who guided the Sharks to the Currie Cup title in 2013 – is the more interesting addition to their backroom staff.

The 47-year-old Gold, who is currently coach of Japanese Top League club Kobelco Steelers, has signed a three-year contract – from 2015 to 2017.

“Gary is an experienced coach who brings a wealth of knowledge and an impressive level of commitment to his new role,” the Sharks CEO, Smit said.

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 Leigh Heard

Leigh Heard, Sharks chief operations officer, has been dismissed for gross misconduct.

A disciplinary hearing into allegations of “serious misconduct” by a senior staff member of the KZN Sharks rugby administration has exposed a number of alleged breaches in the financial management of the globally revered sport franchise.

A 47-page report described as “highly sensitive” and leaked to the Tribune this week details a litany of apparent unethical financial practice, spanning more than a decade.

Claims of irregular payments for “deserving” staff members, gifts and bonuses, free luxury stadium suites, inflated bonuses, free cars, nepotism, poor accounting and large unauthorised handouts were all part of the mix.

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John Smit

John Smit, swopping the Sharks jersey for a corporate suit.

It has been a year since John Smit swapped the intensity of the rugby field for the pressure of the boardroom.

For the 16 years Smit played in the front-row, headaches were caused by repeated collisions in the scrum.

Now, they are a mental strain as he prepares for his second year as chief executive of the Sharks.

“It’s been an incredible ride for the last 16 months,” Smit told ESPN. “I’ve learnt a huge amount and I have been thrown into the deep end going from the Saracens bench to being in charge of South Africa’s biggest franchise.”

Smit’s involvement in rugby has never been boring.

His career took in spells at the Sharks, Clermont Auvergne and Saracens alongside 111 caps for South Africa, 83 as captain, and three World Cup campaigns.

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Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu

Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu says South Africa deserves to have a Springbok team representative of its rainbow nation, The Star reported on Friday.

“Now, nearly 20 years later, I lament the tortoise pace at which transformation at the highest level is being effected,” he said in a letter to The Star’s sister paper, The Cape Times.

Tutu criticised the SA Rugby Union (SARU) for the pace of transformation in the team, and said it was “particularly hurtful” to see the selection of black players as “peripheral squad members never given the chance to settle down and earn their spurs.”

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Brendan VenterThe SharksA shared vision and his high regard for John Smit as a person and a leader who breeds success and inspires people around him is what prompted Brendan Venter to take on the challenge of being the first man to fill the newly created position of Director of Rugby at the Sharks.

Venter will link up with the Sharks for the first time on Sunday at the start of a training camp that will mark the beginning of the build-up to a Currie Cup season that will see last year’s beaten finalists going into the competition with a completely revamped coaching team.

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John SmitSaracens RugbyJohn Smit, the new Sharks CEO, has succeeded in luring English giants Saracens to Durban for an exhibition match.

The Word Cup-winning former Springbok captain, Smit, played for Sarries after he retired from international competition after the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

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The SharksJohn PlumtreeClive WoodwardJake WhiteJohn Smit - 2013 - 002There seems to be a lot happening at the Sharks, in front of and behind the scenes, prior to this weekend’s Super Rugby clash between the Sharks and the Blues.

Apparently John Smit said no to Jake White and Clive Woodward (Both World Cup winning coaches) but chose Brendan Venter in stead, read more below.

More news involving John Smit and outgoing coach John Plumtree suggests that the 2 are to meet to see if they can sort out diferences, the package John Plumtree is demanding and the immediate way forward, read more below too.

With Super Rugby back on the weekend, the speculation is also rife about who will play at flyhalf and in midfield, with a host of centres injured but with Butch James back. Will the flyhalf spot go to Butch or Patrick Lambie and will the other beselected at inside centre?

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The SharksWhere there is smoke, there is fire!

I remember that quite a few of us wanted John Smit in the Springbok coaching setup, instead of the team, before the 2011 Rugby World Cup, well rumours would have us believe that John Smit could become the next CEO at the Sharks Rugby Union, in place of the retiring Brian van Zyl.

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Brumbies punished with icy night drill

Tony Rea’s post-match verbal attack was nothing compared to what he put his players through last night.

Waratahs out to rediscover their ‘beautiful’ game

Coach Chris Hickey believes his team can rekindle their expansive style of play as the finals approach.

Ioane becomes new focus

Wallabies fear they will lose spectacular utility back Digby Ioane

Jake White says four-year term is key

Jake negotiated another 4 year deal

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With focus on the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in September, former Springbok coach Jake White says incumbent Bok coach Peter de Villiers faces a difficult task in deciding when to rest his key players in this year’s Tri-Nations.
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London – Former Springbok coach Jake White will apply for the newly created position of Performance Director at the Rugby Football Union, a role which will see the current England coach Martin Johnson ultimately report to him.

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The Grand Slam dream is over. The one thing that could have redeemed the Boks and its management came to an embarrassing end on Saturday as the Springboks went down to the Scots, and as my three-year old would say; ‘Now what now?” Continue reading


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