No future indication from Venter, says Sharks coach
Sharks director of rugby Brendan Venter has not given his backroom staff any indication over his future amid the growing speculation that he was set to be replaced by Jake White, coach Brad Macleod-Henderson said on Tuesday.
The 2007 World Cup-winning coach has been strongly linked to the Durban union in recent days after he was granted an early release from his four-year contract at the Brumbies franchise last week.
“We’re not too certain as to what’s going to develop,” Macleod-Henderson said.
“We’ve obviously read similar things to what you guys have — that there’s an opportunity that Jake might be coming to join us in some capacity.” Macleod-Henderson said Venter had not indicated to them whether he would be moving or not.
White, 50, said over the weekend that he would be keen to coach Western Province or the Sharks, although the initial links came as a surprise due to Venter only recently taking up his post in what was the first appointment made by new chief executive John Smit.
Macleod-Henderson, who insisted he had no uncertainty about his future, has since joined as forwards coach along with backline boss Sean Everitt.
“He (Sean) and I know we’re going to be here next year, so we’re very excited about that,” he said.
“I can’t speak for Sean, but I have two years to go on my contract.” Smit, the former Springbok captain at the helm under White in 2007, took charge of the Sharks in July.
In a statement issued last Thursday, he conceded that he would be open to ’engaging’ with White should the opportunity arise.
And Macleod-Henderson echoed those sentiments on Tuesday.
“There has been talk about Jake White joining us,” he added. “We all know he’s a fantastic coach and it will be great for coaches like ourselves to have him in the system somewhere, so we can hopefully work with him and pick his brain.”
Macleod-Henderson urged that the focus for now should be on their current task, which was to finish the Currie Cup regular season on top of the log.
The Sharks are top of the log with two games to play. They face the Bulls in Pretoria this weekend, followed by a top-of-the-table tussle against Western Province in Durban next week.
“We’re just really focusing on the job at hand at the moment,” he added.
“We’ve got a job to do on Friday night and that’s to go up to Loftus (Versfeld), put on a good performance and get a result, so we’re obviously focusing on that.” The coastal side will end their successful rotation policy this week and are due to name their strongest team for the match against the fifth-placed Bulls.
It was confirmed that Jacques Botes, Jean Deysel and Louis Ludik will all feature after being rested for the last two weeks, while Marcell Coetzee, presently on Springbok duty, is also set to play.