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So many questions

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 29 Sep 2014 at 14:32
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

Has the dust settled yet? Hell no, definitely not, but the news of Jake White’s immediate departure as Sharks Director of Rugby is now at least a few hours old and has had a chance to sink in just a little.

As you can well imagine, there is a huge amount of talk doing the rounds. In the absence of confirmed facts, I’ll not share any of what I’ve heard just yet. however, I have a number of thoughts that I’d like to get down, while they’re fresh in my mind. Most of these are questions regarding the state of things at the Sharks unions – questions I would like to find the answers to.

My immediate thought on reading the press release was that Jake had stepped down of his own accord
I’m now starting to wonder whether this was indeed the case? For any business “transaction” to take place (or continue), you need both a willing buyer and a willing seller. Given the abruptness of this decision, I think we can safely assume that it didn’t come about by mutual consent, meaning one of two things happened:
1) Jake wanted to leave
2) The Sharks wanted Jake to leave

So did he leave of his own accord?
The prevailing theory supporting this alternative is that Jake has landed the prime international coaching job that he wanted, told the Sharks and thus is merely doing what he said he would do all along, albeit a bit early. The Sharks have always been clear that Jake wasn’t going to stay around for ever, with the coach himself again being clear about his aspirations. However, it’s rather unlikely that any of the sort of countries that Jake would want to coach would be looking to appoint a new man so close to the 2015 World Cup. This alternative is possible, but to my mind unlikely.

Based on many things I’ve heard over the last 9 months, Jake has not been wildly successful in terms of getting people in Durban to like him. That’s a rumour, that’s unsubstantiated, but it’s also been said enough times by enough different people that I consider it pretty close to fact.

So did he leave because it wasn’t working out?
Given the above, this seems more likely at present. We still don’t know, though, whether Jake himself decided to call time on the relationship, or whether it was the Sharks who pushed the button. That latter option seems more likely, since the hypothesis here is that Jake doesn’t currently have another gig to go to and would be unlikely to voluntarily retrench himself. We don’t know what, exactly, may have led up to such an eventuality, but it would be interesting to know whether there was one particular incident that tipped the scales.

So what now?
This is a multi-faceted question and one that really is the most important one. If it was the Sharks who made the decision, then unless there was some grounds for dismissal based on breach of contract, there’s the potential of yet another expensive pay-out looming. Again, this is speculation, but it’s rather likely that the Sharks, in the past 12 months, have had to settle financial disputes with both John Plumtree and Jake’s former employers, the Brumbies. If this move ends up costing again – meaning that they’ve had to “pay twice” for Jake – then I’d like to see some honest accountability for those mistakes form the board.

I’m more concerned about the team than I am the finances, though – perhaps naively. Who is going to come in to coach the team in Super Rugby next year? Can Brendan Venter be enticed back? Do the Sharks have a replacement lined up? There simply cannot be yet another short term appointment made – not if we care at all about our players.

Over to you, John. Tell us what’s happening!


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