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White takes Sharks back to their roots

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 3 Feb 2014 at 11:45
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Sharks will hold a very special training session tomorrow, with Jake White opting to highlight the importance of club rugby within the KZN region by instructing his Super Rugby squad to train in their club kit.

An ongoing criticism of the professional era is that talented schoolboy players could conceivably go on to play in 50 games for their country, over the course of a career, without ever donning their club strip in a match situation and while this initiative is, unfortunately, not exactly going to change that situation, it is however an important nod, from the Sharks, to the club structure which underpins professional rugby in the province.

While it’s unlikely that Bismarck du Plessis will turn out for Marshall Security Crusaders in too many games this season (although let’s not forget that he did don a few club jerseys during his return from injury last year), the value of seeing him and brother Jannie don that white jersey for a highly publicised Sharks training session cannot be overstated and will, hopefully, attract others to the club. Likewise, Frans Steyn and Pieter-Steph du Toit, wearing the black-and-red hoops of Collegians and quartered blue of College Rovers respectively, can only do good things to promote those club brands. Varsity College, too, boast a strong contingent of Sharks players, with the likes of Jacques Botes, Odwa Ndungane and Lwazi Mvovo often involved in club activities.

It’s not just the already successful clubs that will benefit from this exposure, though. White and John Smit have ensured, this season, that their contracted players are evenly allocated across the club spectrum. Even though the players will, of course, spend little time on the field for those clubs, the impact of simply having them affiliated and available to further market those clubs cannot be overstated. Ryan Kankowski (Amanzimtoti), JP Pietersen (Rhinos) and Tim Whitehead (UKZN) are just some examples of big name-players who will, on Tuesday, don the strip of smaller clubs, in so doing raising the profile of those clubs and hopefully attract more players and supporters to their ranks.

Good work, Jake White. Let’s do a lot more of this.


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