at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Durban – In his time as Springbok coach, one of Jake White’s great strengths was his knack of getting first-rate consultants to add value to the team cause.
Former Wallaby coach Eddie Jones is a case in point, and now Sharks boss White is continuing that trend, having on Thursday appointed world-renowned “eye coach” Dr Sherylle Calder.
Calder, a former SA women’s hockey international, worked with the Boks under White and her pupils, if you will excuse the pun, swore by her “eye gym” exercises that improve peripheral vision.
Calder, as a doctor and a sportswoman, focused on the idea of sports folk improving their game by developing their vision. England rugby coach Clive Woodward was the first to see the merits of what she had to offer, and she was on the management team of the England side that won the World Cup in 2003.
One of her biggest fans was the hero of that triumph in Australia, flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson who, in the blink of an eye, swore that she had contributed to his brilliant World Cup campaign.
White clearly sees things the same way.
“Sherylle will be helping us with her ‘eye gym’ to improve peripheral vision and awareness. She will also be assisting the kickers, which is a massive boost for us, as well as the youngsters in the Sharks Academy, who will be able to learn a top range of skills from one of the best in the business,” White said.
Meanwhile, next week’s final warm-up match, against the Lions away, will be all about a sound “tune-up” before the February 15 kick-off against the Bulls in Durban.
White says he will bring back his big guns who were rested and/or incapacitated for last week’s expedition to the English champions, but at the same time he has not taken his eye off the youngsters providing the second tier in the squad.
“Against the Lions next week, I’d like to get some cohesion going with the main guys, as well as try and give opportunities to players who might be needed in the next few weeks,” White said. “What we want to get out of this is that I’d like my main guys to play, and I’d like some of the juniors to also get some game time.”