Pippa Rowe from left John Smit former rugby player and Roxane during Sharks 15 versus Boland at Sugar Ray Xulu stedium in Clermont PICTURE BONGANI MBATHA
Pippa Rowe from left John Smit former rugby player and Roxane during Sharks 15 versus Boland at Sugar Ray Xulu stedium in Clermont PICTURE BONGANI MBATHA

Sharks hit back at Van Zyl

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Jun 17, 2016

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Durban - The Sharks on Friday shot back at their former chief executive, Brian van Zyl, after his open letter claiming money troubles at King’s Park.

They bluntly disputed a claim of financial instability, and claimed a personal vendetta was afoot.

They said Van Zyl’s open letter published in, the Daily News's sister newspaper, The Mercury on Fri day was a disappointment.

KZNRU president, Graham Mackenzie, said: “...it seems he has allowed both his memory and judgement to be clouded by a personal vendetta. This is a pity for The Sharks and for him, personally.

“His bitter and unjustified attack on John Smit... is particularly unfortunate.

“John has achieved a great deal in his three years as CEO, substantially increasing commercial revenue and bravely clearing the spider’s web that he inherited.

“It is simply wrong to suggest the Sharks are financially unstable. As Brian very well knows, each of the provincial unions faces significant financial challenges and these problems pre-date his departure.

“At the Sharks, we have kept our heads above water through sound management and planning. We remain focused on helping our team challenge for the Super Rugby and Currie Cup titles...”

The KZNRU would guide rugby in KZN, and would “continue to play the ball, and not the man”. “We hope our former chief executive will reflect and feel able to make a constructive contribution.”

Van Zyl said he had left the Sharks posting a R14m profit. They had since incurred losses and, he suspected, were about to post another one. He criticised Smit’s business experience, and took on Mackenzie.

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