Smit has lots to offer - Griffiths

    2013-04-10 22:22
    Cape Town - Former SA Rugby Union CEO and current Saracens chief Edward Griffiths says John Smit would make a valuable contribution to South African rugby if he is appointed Sharks CEO.

    This comes after the Durban-based Mercury newspaper ran a front-page story saying Smit, South Africa's most capped player and their 2007 World Cup-winning skipper, will be confirmed as chief executive at a meeting of the Sharks board on Monday and could be in position in July. He will take over from Brian van Zyl, who is due to retire next year, the paper said.

    Griffiths told the UK's Press Association Sport that the ex-Shark's appointment would break new ground in rugby administration in South Africa.

    "It would also be a great step forward for South African rugby to bring into a leading administrative position somebody who has recently retired from the game," said Griffiths.

    "That hasn't been the pattern in South African rugby. In fact, it hasn't really been the pattern in rugby anywhere because rugby can be a game where the upper echelons of administration are clogged up by, for want of a better word, blazers.

    "I think it would be a breath of fresh air for South African rugby and big step forward."

    Griffiths also does not feel Smit's lack of experience would be an issue.

    "Every business, every club is essentially about communication and bringing people together behind common goals. He has proven with the Springboks and others that he is brilliantly skilled at that. He is an individual of the very highest quality.

    "Whether you are talking about an international bank or a rugby club, any organisation would be in good hands if it was led by John Smit."

    If appointed, the 35-year-old Smit will become the youngest chief executive of a South African Super Rugby team. He currently plays for England's Saracens and was set to join French club Toulon on a short-term contract next year. However, the Sharks reportedly negotiated Smit's release from that Toulon contract and he could take up his new role at the end of the Super Rugby season.

    The Sharks will issue a media release regarding the appointment on Tuesday.

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