John Smit to return to guppies tank
April 10, 2013, 09:56:56
The big unwritten story that has been bubbling under in Sharks rugby for some time may be confirmed on Wednesday – legendary former Springbok captain John Smit will be taking over from Brian van Zyl as chief executive of the franchise.
An impeccable source informed supersport.com last Friday, after the Super Rugby match between the Sharks and the Crusaders, that a meeting had been held the previous week where Sharks roleplayers and board members had decided that they wanted to accelerate the appointment of the new chief executive.
The appointment of 35-year-old Smit was to have been ratified at a board meeting scheduled for next week, but the story was broken in Durban newspapers on Wednesday morning, which will probably mean that the Sharks’ hand has been forced and that they will make an announcement sooner. It is understood that late on Tuesday Van Zyl had not been informed yet of the development.
Van Zyl, in charge at the Sharks since 1994, was set to retire at the end of February next year, with the new appointment being announced in October this year. But it now appears that Smit might be taking charge as soon as July.
The change was to have been finalised a week ago but it was decided not to as the board didn’t want to risk having the decision to make the change appear connected to the heat that the Sharks Rugby Union has taken from the Durban media and public for its handling of the death of Sharks fan Brett Williams in a brawl at the Kings Park Stadium precinct a few weeks ago.
Former Natal cricketer and rugby player Errol Stewart, who has experience in sports administration after working at the ICC, is also understood to have been earmarked for a role within the Sharks set-up and a clean-out of senior personnel at Kings Park may be on the cards.
Smit will in fact be the third former Sharks captain to assume the role of chief executive at the Sharks as the franchise continues to keep it in the family. Van Zyl, who took over from Natal’s first Currie Cup-winning captain Craig Jamieson in 1994, captained Natal in the late 1970s.
If switching from player to administrator so quickly appears to be a massive gamble for Smit, who led the Boks to their second World Cup title in 2007, he can take confidence from the knowledge that he is not the first person to have done so.
Jamieson was only 31, and still leading Natal, when he was approached to take over from Roger Gardner in January of 1992. Jamieson parted ways with Natal in early 1994 when he was appointed to a management role at Rugby World Cup.
This could be good for the sharks. John ran the Boks while the boks were without a coach (ou pdv was however getting paid as coach). Unfortunately he and wee matfield became a bit self serving and hence Bekker and Bissie not making the side etc.