Vastly experienced coach Brendan Venter will formally fulfil a key role as the Sharks’ on-field technical advisor. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
Venter returns to the Sharks, where he served as director of rugby in 2013, and led the Durban-based side to a memorable Currie Cup triumph in the final against Western Province at Newlands.
Although Venter was an extremely popular presence at Kings Park, the former Springbok was unable to continue in a coaching role due to his responsibilities at his medical practice in the Western Cape.
Venter will now serve as the Sharks’ on-field technical advisor, and will have fixed times and responsibilities which he will fulfil. Some of these will be conducted in Durban, and others will be done remotely from Cape Town.
He will commute when needed.
The 54-year-old has had coaching stints at London Irish, Saracens and Italy, and also served in a technical advisory capacity at a host of South African teams.
His experience will be of immense value, particularly as the Sharks prepare for entry into northern-hemisphere competitions.
Later this year, the Sharks are set to bid attack coach Dave Williams farewell when he heads to English club Bath, but they still have his services for the next few months.
However, it’s also recently been reported that the Sharks could look to bring popular Blitzboks coach Neil Powell in as a replacement for Williams.
Whatever the case may be, it’s undoubtedly an interesting time in Durban, with the arrival of Siya Kolisi headlining a clear vision of ambition following the investment from American consortium MVM Holdings.
Several players have recently signed contract extensions, as well as head coach Sean Everitt, while Le Roux Roets and Reniel Hugo are other new recruits. Highly regarded Bok hooker Bongi Mbonambi also remains in conversations linking him to interest from the Sharks.
At the academy, Dick Muir is back coaching, while former players such as JP Pietersen and Lwazi Mvovo are involved in the junior structures, while vastly experienced administrator Brian van Zyl was elected as president of the KZNRU at the end of last year.