New Sharks head coach John Plumtree. Photo: @TheSharks/Twitter

REVEALED: How Plumtree-Powell dynamic will work at the Sharks

Neil Powell and John Plumtree will have clearly defined roles at the Sharks from next season following the latest coaching shake-up.


New Sharks head coach John Plumtree. Photo: @TheSharks/Twitter

Last week Sharks Director of Rugby, Neil Powell, confirmed the appointment of John Plumtree, who returns to the fold as head coach of the senior team.

Plumtree will be ably assisted by the experienced and well-liked Dave Williams who also returns to the Sharks as an assistant coach.

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With Powell taking over the reins as head coach late last year, he now reverts to his Director of Rugby role at the Durban-based side, with Plumtree coaching the senior team, starting 1 July 2023.

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So exactly how will this dynamic work at the Sharks?

“With John Plumtree coming in, I will be less hands-on with the senior team,” Powell said. “My responsibility will be to look after the systems at the Sharks, especially the Academy, so that we fill the senior team from the bottom and not the top.

“Plum has played and coached in Durban and understands the environment, culture, and conditions. He is very experienced, and that is what the Sharks need at this point.”

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The Academy will be a significant focus over the next two to three years, and Powell is determined to ensure that the Sharks lay a solid foundation from the bottom up.

“We have to develop guys to be a lot better so that the second choice is almost as good as the first choice,” he added. “We have a big responsibility to make sure we get things right from the start, and I believe John is the right man for the job.”

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Plumtree has an extensive CV

Plumtree’s coaching career in Durban began in 2007 when he was assistant to Dick Muir when The Sharks hosted the Super Rugby Final at Hollywoodbets Kings Park, before the New Zealander took over the reins as head coach between 2008 and 2012.

There he played an important role, winning Currie Cup titles in 2008 and 2010 as coach and taking the Cell C Sharks to the 2012 Super Rugby Final.

His successes with the Cell C Sharks were not only limited to coaching, but as a player under the late Ian McIntosh, he won Currie Cup titles in the historic 1990 final, and again in 1996, having represented Natal in 80 games as a tough, mobile flank between 1988 and 1997.

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