Sharks set for structural changes

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With the Sharks having ended a disappointing Super Rugby season with a good win over the Stormers on Saturday, Gary Gold confirmed after the game that he planned to move into a more traditional director of rugby role going forward.

This season, Gold has fulfilled a hands-on role as effectively the head coach, but he will now begin to focus on the wellbeing of the franchise as a whole, rather than being entirely focused on the main team.

Gold is also expected to be involved in the process of appointing a new head coach, who may well come in to take charge from the Currie Cup, which begins in August.

“There will be changes in the coaching set up, but it’s not going to be a clear out or a case of starting with a clean slate,” Gold commented. “But I do see myself fulfilling more of a director of rugby role than that of a hands-on coach in the future. We want to look closely at all of our structures and will be looking for some expertise to help us in that regard.

“We want to put a lot of energy into junior structures and recruitment, and into working with various coaches and making sure all the Sharks teams are playing the same rugby from school level up.”

Although the Sharks have not advertised for a head coach, Gold said there were a few candidates in mind.

“There are not going to be radical changes, but there will be some tweaking. We need to put solid structures in place for a few years now, there’s been a lot of change in recent years, so we need to calm things down and have some continuity going forward.”

Although no possible candidates have been mentioned as yet, it’s quite likely that the name of former All Blacks coach John Mitchell will crop again, with the New Zealander having recently turned down an approach by the Stormers to fulfill that role.

And while changes are set to be made to the coaching team, the Sharks are also aware that there will need to be some careful succession planning as they bid farewell to Alberts and the Du Plessis brothers, Jannie and Bismarck.

The three Bok forwards all played in what was an emotional farewell match on Saturday, and Gold admitted the change room was a “sombre place” after the game.

“We are not in the play-offs, and we are losing key players. World Cup years are difficult like that, and when you have not performed as you would have hoped, and you know players are moving on, it is a sombre place.”

However, Gold said the progress made by a number of youngsters this season had been encouraging, and he reiterated that they would now need to back these sorts of players to be able to take the team forward into a new era.

“It’s exciting to see youngsters step and that is where we must focus… There are positives that we’ve seen with a number of young players coming through really well this season…

That is our strategy – we want to look at bringing through youngsters rather than looking to replace super star with super star. You are not going to replace players of the calibre of Bismarck, Jannie and Willem, but we must back our youngsters.”

Original source: Sharks set for structural changes

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