Sharks lure Brendan Venter back to the tank as technical advisor
DURBAN - Former Springbok centre and vastly experienced coach Brendan Venter has rejoined the Sharks as a technical advisor.
Venter coached the Sharks to a famous Currie Cup final win against Western Province at Newlands in 2013, the first year that John Smit was CEO at the Sharks, but Venter could not be enticed to stay on in Durban because he wanted to focus on his medical practice in the Cape.
Venter had been a stopgap measure at the Sharks after Smit had axed the long-serving John Plumtree but had been unable to land a long-term coach. Jake White was then brought back from Australia to coach the KZN team.
Venter will now fulfil a consultancy role that is somewhere between CEO Ed Coetzee at the top and head coach Sean Everitt, and he will be applying his highly respected rugby acumen to on-field technical matters.
As was the case in 2013, Venter will continue to live in the Cape and will commute to Durban when required, while also contributing remotely.
As the Sharks prepare for their entry into the newly created Rainbow Cup (the old Pro 14 plus the SA teams) in April, Venter’s experience of coaching in Europe will be invaluable.
The 54-year-old doctor has had coaching spells at London Irish, Saracens, and Italy, as well as having had technical advisory roles at a host of South African teams.
The Sharks certainly seem to be on a roll with their future planning as it has emerged that they are also in talks with Blitzboks coach Neill Powell, to replace outgoing attack coach David Williams.
Williams is rejoining English club Bath in October, where he has previously coached, and Powell would make an exciting replacement.
It is understood that Powell is targeted to join the Sharks next year following the World Cup Sevens that is being held in Cape Town.
Further, the Sharks have recently revealed that former coach Dick Muir - also a former Springbok assistant coach and Sharks and Bok centre - is to coach at the Sharks Academy.
Also, recently retired Sharks stalwarts JP Pietersen and Lwazi Mvovo will continue at the Shark Tank as coaches of age group teams.
Last month, Springbok captain Siya Kolisi was unveiled as a new Sharks signing while Coetzee has also signed two new locks in Reniel Hugo (Cheetahs) and Le Roux Roets (Pumas) while Bok hooker Bongi Mbonambi is also known to be in the sights of the ambitious Durban franchise.
Venter, meanwhile, was spotted at the Sharks’ training session yesterday ahead of their match against the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Coach Everitt will name his team on Thursday and is expected to draft in some of his Currie Cup stars for this third round Preparation Series match.