Sharks coach: Players selected Schreuder as captain
Town - Sharks coach Robert du Preez has
confirmed that the decision to select Louis Schreuder as captain for Super
Rugby 2019 came from the players themselves.
The appointment of the
28-year-old as skipper came as somewhat of a surprise on Wednesday, but
speaking to media in Durban, Du Preez revealed that it was his leadership group
that had made the call.
Schreuder had led the Sharks to
an impressive 17-12 victory over Western Province at Newlands last year in the
Currie Cup final, enhancing his credentials as a strong leader in this
"As we all know he did a
fantastic job during the Currie Cup," Du Preez explained.
"He is a well-respected and
very experienced guy. We have a very strong leadership group. There are 12 of
them. You've got the likes of Philip (Van der Walt), Jeremy (Ward), Dan (Du
Preez), Lukhanyo (Am), Lwazi (Mvovo), Beast (Mtawarira) ... there are some
really strong leaders in there.
"The captain was basically
selected by the leadership group at the end of the day."
With no Super Rugby break in
2019, Du Preez acknowledged that he would be rotating players a lot more
regularly than he did in 2018 when the Sharks were eliminated at the
"Any one of those guys in
the leadership group can step in and be captain on the day, so if we are
rotating players and Louis has to be on the bench then we are blessed to have
that strong leadership group," he said.
"If I reflect on last year,
we didn't rotate nearly as much as we should have.
"We've got such a strong squad
and we mustn't be scared to rotate players after two or three games. I think
you'll see quite a bit of that and then the guys must perform."
Jean-Luc du Preez aside, the
Sharks have a fully fit group of players preparing for their tournament opener
against the Sunwolves in Tokyo on February 16.
There is an air of familiarity about
the squad as they enter their third Super Rugby campaign under Du Preez, with
most of the players having been together in Durban throughout that
There is an addition to the
coaching staff in the form of the highly-rated David Williams, who arrives as
the new attack coach replacing Dick Muir.
Williams has coached in England
with Bath and London Irish, the Kobe Steelers in Japan and he was also the
attack coach for the Kings during their impressive Super Rugby campaign in
"He has brought a lot of
detail to our play and a lot of structure. He allows the players to play what
they see, but with cues," Du Preez explained.
"I think that's the
important thing, that these guys will know exactly what their opportunities
"We saw some flashes of brilliance,
but we didn't have that ongoing consistency on that. We created so many line breaks,
but we couldn't finish them and that's where David comes in.
"The makings are all there
for a great season."
With the New Zealand sides
obviously favoured to be the ones to beat in 2019, Du Preez believes the Sharks
also have what it takes to go the distance.
"I think with the talent
that we have, we'd be running out of excuses. We've got to do it this
year," he said.