Durban – New Sharks chief executive John Smit officially clocked in for his first day of work on Monday.
The former Springbok captain said he would spend his first weeks assimilating himself into the administration of the franchise and formulating his strategic plan for the future.
Smoother waters in the Shark Tank will be the focus for Brian van Zyl’s successor.
Having had a tricky re-introduction to the Sharks with the John Plumtree saga, Smit would like to ensure he handles affairs with the same decorum and integrity that characterised his long tenure as Springbok captain.
“My first days are going to be about gathering information about our entire structure and how we do things, and compiling a list of things to do. There are still two games to go in Super Rugby, and that is the focus right now,” he said.
The Sharks have not had the best of public relations this year, and Smit has said he wants the Sharks to be more proactive in dealing with negative situations.
“Sometimes unfortunate things happen, and you just have to take it on the chin. Obviously you want to limit the negative things that happen, but you have to engage with the media,” he said.
“I would never want to be seen as deceitful, and will have an open door to the media.”
Smit said that after Super Rugby ended for the Sharks next weekend, he would announce his plans for the Currie Cup, including the new coaching team that is expected to include director of rugby Brendan Venter and coaches Brad Macleod-Henderson and Sean Everitt.
“The first thing is to have a good Currie Cup. We want to create an open environment where the Sharks are an easy company to deal with. I want people to enjoy the Sharks again.”
Smit will also be kept busy dealing with the usual comings and goings of players that occurs at this time of year.
There has been conjecture that former Springbok No 8 Ryan Kankowski, who was out of favour under Plumtree, will be leaving the Sharks, but Smit said this was not the case.
Kankowski is available for selection, but will return to his club in Japan at the end of the competition.He will return to the Sharks for next year’s Super Rugby season. – The Mercury