Former Sharks wing Tony Watson has written a scathing open letter to the team’s board following the Durban-based side’s poor run of results.
In the letter published on IOL, Watson, who played for Natal between 1985 and 1993, writes that there has been a lack of leadership at the Sharks, and calls for a ‘complete clean-out of the coaching staff’.
‘When Robert du Preez was appointed coach, I asked Teich [CEO Gary Teichmann] whether he believed that prospective sponsors and business partners would share his vision for the Sharks with Robert as the head coach?
‘Clearly he and the board believed so, and the Du Preez coaching era was born! Well, for almost two seasons, we have witnessed a Sharks team in free fall, with no clearly defined pattern of play.
‘It is a team lacking in leadership both on and off the field; a team capable of producing brief spells of mesmerising rugby, but also a team that can get beaten by 50 points in our own back garden.’
Watson added that Du Preez has created a culture of fear in the team, using the treatment of flyhalf Curwin Bosch, who will start at flyhalf for the first time this season on Saturday against the Waratahs, as an example.
‘It is a team playing with fear – that’s how I sum up the Sharks. Let me support this statement. Two years ago, Curwin Bosch missed a crucial tackle in the Currie Cup final, and was subsequently and most conveniently banished to the bench. Yet us Sharks fans are subjected every week to missed tackles by the incumbent flyhalf, and opposition coaches target this channel with astounding success!
‘In a pre-season meeting attended by Gary Teichmann, Robert du Preez and Dick Muir to discuss the importance of a selection committee, Robert made it very clear that he was in the fortunate position that his three sons picked themselves, and therefore there would be no controversy.
‘Instead, for two years we have been starved of the mercurial talent of Curwin Bosch, and the team has had to endure a selection policy that must surely create nasty undercurrents.
‘This team needs a fresh start! There should be a complete clean-out of the coaching staff and an interim team installed, the likes of Ian Mac [McIntosh], Dick Muir, Pat Lambie and Sean Everitt.’
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