Sharks mum on Smit... for now

    2013-04-10 19:15

    Johannesburg - The Sharks did not deny a media report on Wednesday that former Springbok captain John Smit will be their new chief executive.

    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.

    In response, Sharks chairperson Stephen Saad said they wouldn't comment, but the board "will be convening on Monday ... and a media release will be issued on Tuesday."

    The Mercury said the 35-year-old Smit, who retired from internationals after the 2011 World Cup with a record 111 caps for the Springboks, would become the youngest chief executive of a South African Super Rugby team.

    Smit, also a former Sharks captain, currently plays for England's Saracens and was set to join French club Toulon on a short-term contract next year.

    The Sharks negotiated Smit's release from that Toulon contract, The Mercury said, and he could take up his new role at the end of the Super Rugby season.

    Smit played for the Durban-based Sharks for over a decade and has also had a stint with Clermont in France. He captained South Africa in a world-record 83 Tests and led the Springboks to Tri-Nations titles in 2004 and 2009.

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