Dick Muir says a desire to contribute to an ambitious new vision at the Sharks is what inspired him to rejoin the coaching ranks, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Muir has not been involved in a professional coaching capacity since completing his role as a Springbok assistant after the 2011 World Cup, but he is now back at the Sharks, where he is well-remembered for coaching the Durban-based side to the 2007 Super Rugby final.
Over the past few years, Muir has remained involved in the game as he’s headed up the South African affiliate of the Investec International Rugby Academy, while he has also added his input at the Crusaders club in Durban, and at Northwood High School.
Although Muir’s professional coaching days appeared to have been put behind him, the 52-year-old will now be responsible for the Sharks’ attack and backline play for the 2018 season.
Talking to SARugbymag.co.za during a gap in the team’s pre-season training on Wednesday, Muir explained the motivation behind his return to a high-level coaching gig.
‘[Sharks CEO] Gary [Teichmann] and [head coach] Rob [du Preez] asked me if I’d consider getting back involved, and the opportunity lent itself towards that. It has been interesting to see how the game has changed, but I’m really excited by the players we have to work with and the management team that has been put together.
‘Sharks rugby has always remained very close to my heart, and as an ex-player – along with the likes of Gary and Rob – we desperately want the Sharks to be a real force to be reckoned with again. I’ve been blown away with the talent at our disposal, which is something you can’t always appreciate when you’re on the outside.’
Muir has always been renowned as a coach who advocates a positive, ball-in-hand brand of rugby, which was one of the hallmarks of his previous tenure at the Sharks.
Despite his time away from the Super Rugby coalface, he insists that his coaching philosophy hasn’t changed.
‘It’s all about looking at the opportunities you’re presented with, the conditions you face, the players you have, and the opposition you’re playing, but my philosophy hasn’t changed at all.
‘I’ve also really enjoyed working with Rob,’ he added. ‘It’s been fascinating to see how similarly we think about things, but there is also room for lots of debate, which I think is really healthy.’
The Sharks will kick off their Super Rugby campaign against the Lions on 17 February, and Muir said he was very excited about the prospects for the season ahead.
‘One of the biggest differences I’ve seen is the conditioning of the players, and then there have been tweaks to the laws. But I think rugby is just getting better and better from an attack and defence perspective, so you really have to utilise the opportunities that are created.’
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images