OUR VIEWPOINT: Sharks right to invest in the future
SHARKS CEO John Smit’s public letter may have delivered a promise to fans, but the fact that the Sharks’ finances are now in a good space simply means that the team must invest in youth and win rugby games.
Looking plainly at the state of their Super Rugby campaign, the Sharks are in tatters. They have lost seven of their 11 games this season, which is a sorry statistic, and have a date tomorrow with the best team in the competition, the Hurricanes.
The simple question is: Who is to blame for their poor showings in 2015?
Smit’s letter said: “It’s impossible to dissect each one of the questions out there”, while intimating that the number of curve balls presented by players’ suspensions and injuries compounded the problem.
The team are now low on confidence and have delivered a number of sub-standard performances, according to Smit.
Nevertheless, the Sharks are one of the most recognisable brands in world rugby, and have a squad of players at their disposal who are arguably the envy of the country. We are cognisant that preseason preparations were unorthodox, with director of rugby Gary Gold and a number of players missing for most, if not all, of it.
But with the likes of former Springbok Brendan Venter in charge during his absence, fans were promised a refined running game that would lead to spectacular rugby and victories.
Fast-forward to the 12th week of the competition and the Sharks are second from the bottom of the South African conference, and 11th overall on the log. They certainly haven’t run opposition teams off their feet and their squad depth has been tested.
If we are to believe Smit, the Sharks company has the money in the coffers to make sure bright young talent and a few high-profile signings boost the team in the years to come.
The Sharks CEO stated that the company has seen its sponsorship revenue increase by 67% from 2013, while the partnership with the eThekwini Municipality to the tune of R22 million last year also beefed up its bank accounts.
What does it plan to do with all that money?
With this season almost over, and some Springboks heading to greener pastures after the World Cup later this year, the Sharks need to invest in the future wisely.
Nothing short of hard-working, passionate players will suffice to return the Sharks to their former glory