Smit outlines his plans

    2013-06-11 16:30
    Durban - John Smit, the incoming CEO of The Sharks, has addressed the media at Kings Park, outlining his role, effective from July, which includes making difficult decisions.

    According to Sharks website Editor Michael Marnewick, the one decision Smit has made which will have the greatest impact immediately is not to renew Sharks coach John Plumtree’s contract, which runs until the end of the 2013 season.

    Smit is excited about a role where he can continue to contribute to future Sharks successes, both on and off the field.

    VIDEO: John Smit discusses Plumtree sacking

    "This is a very exciting job, Durban has been my home for a long time and The Sharks are the only team I’ve played for in South Africa, so they are close to my heart," he explained.

    "So if there is some way I can contribute positively, this job certainly is a platform for that."

    Outgoing CEO, Brian van Zyl will continue to provide guidance where necessary before his official retirement at the end of February, 2014, which Smit values greatly.

    "I am fortunate, it’s daunting taking over from someone like Brian van Zyl, he’s been here for such a long time and the Sharks are what they are because of having someone like him in the CEO role.

    "I do have his experience to call on and I’m grateful for that; it will be a massive learning experience for me."

    Smit explained that he sees his role as being part of the greater Sharks family, a role that will assess where The Sharks are and where they’d like to be.

    "What we will be doing is assessing when we are, whether we are on par with the other teams, behind them or ahead of them, and then we’ll spend some time putting a strategy together so that we’re never on par or behind but always in front, and how we can sustain that year after year.

    "That won’t just take one person - the CEO – but everyone that’s involved with and employed by the Sharks.

    "Hopefully that will get us a good result and a great future."

    He pointed out that John Plumtree will remain as Sharks coach until the conclusion of the Super Rugby tournament, with Brendan Venter stepping into the Director of Rugby role at the Sharks, and taking over the coaching role during the Currie Cup which begins in August.

    "This is the most difficult issue we have right now, and one that has taken a lot of time and effort to come to," Smit said.

    "John’s contract comes to an end at the end of this year, and I did let him know yesterday that we won’t be renewing his contract onwards. I’ve spoken to Brendan Venter who will take over as Director of Rugby.

    "We can only be thankful for what Plum has done for The Sharks over the years," he added.

    "I won my first and only Currie Cup with him as coach, the first Currie Cup we’d won in 12 years.

    "He’s given a lot of himself to this team, he’s had 10 campaigns as head coach behind his name.

    "It was purely a decision to freshen up and create some change for the players’ experiences as well."

    On the appointment of Brendan Venter, Smit explained that, "I’ve seen first-hand what he can and does do, he’s created something quite special at Saracens in terms of rugby environment and the environment off the field as well. It’s something that appealed to me and the reason why I looked to get him here."
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