Former Springbok to run Sharks as Plumtree axed

John Plumtree
John Plumtree

 

New Sharks CEO John Smit has not renewed the contract of coach John Plumtree and the Kiwi will be replaced by former Springbok centre Brendan Venter.

Plumtree, who led the Sharks to two Currie Cup trophies and a Super Rugby final in his five years in the job, will go at the end of the current Super Rugby tournament with Venter then taking over as director of rugby.

Smit confirmed that Venter, who coached Saracens in England, was his first choice and said that it was “unfortunate” Nick Mallett had spoken to the media about being approached. “There was contact made with him to see if there was a role he could play, but it was an unnecessary way for Plum to hear the news in the media,” he said.

Smit, who worked with Venter during the two years he spent at Saracens, gave force to the saying that a new broom sweeps clean when he made the announcement at his first press conference at Kings Park yesterday.

The former World Cup-winning Springbok captain, who officially starts work next month, praised Plumtree for his contribution to the Sharks and acknowledged that it had been a difficult decision to take, but said he intended to “freshen things up” at the franchise.