On Monday the Sharks confirmed the the appointment of world cup winning coach Jake White as director of rugby at the franchise. Ever since his sudden departure from the Brumbies, his future was under immense speculation with rumours of him joining either the Sharks or Western Province Rugby Union, after much teasing in the media by Sharks CEO John Smit it was finally announced that he had joined the east coast franchise.
Now Smit and White shared a successful time at Springbok level so we know this partnership works. Jake's record speaks for itself when it comes to his past accomplishments and with Smit at the helm he will oversee that things are done the way he has planned on. When Smit took over at the Sharks he did make some drastic changes especially to the coaching staff and many didn't know what to think of it. Most of the loyal supporters back the decisions made, after all Smit was our golden boy, he led the team to some incredible wins and success in the Currie Cup more than once, who wasn't going to trust him right?
Well their faith has been repaid with the team head by Brendan Venter are currently sitting pretty on top of the Currie Cup log. With the team doing well and getting results, one might ask was there really a need for Jake White? Well in short, yes , like I said earlier, Smit has been loyal to the Sharks for most of his playing career with only a stint in Europe that saw him stray away from the Sharks. Smit also tasted victory in every competition bar one, the Super Rugby tournament. He like every other die hard Sharks fan wants nothing more than to see the black and white lift that trophy which has eluded us for all these years.
The Sharks have reached many finals since the competitions inception but have never succeeded in winning it. All finals that the team reached were better left forgotten, none more than the one in 2007, on our home ground, in front our faithful supporters with barely a minute to go, the title was ripped away from us by foul play and shoddy refereeing but as they say we can't cry over spilt milk. White has proven at the Brumbies he has the potential to guide a side through the tough competition by reaching the finals with the team just in one season. Impressive doesn't even come close to the word one can describe that feat.
Now I'm not saying that next season the Sharks will win the Super Rugby tournament but this appointment does set in a motion a long term plan set by the team to mould this side into a title winning one. If White and Smit can accomplish what they set out to do, the Sharks could be, if not already one of the most feared sides in rugby. Its not something we're used to seeing in SA rugby but something that is common in New Zealand which is why they've been successful for so many years. One thing is for sure, the future is bright.