White: Sharks have a ‘fantastic’ Super Rugby draw

Director of Rugby Jake White says that the Sharks have a “fantastic draw” as they have an early Bye and start with four home matches in Durban.

White has inherited a strong team as they are the current Currie Cup champions which is a change for the former Bok coach as he is usually appointed to team’s that are struggling.

White took charge of the Springboks in 2004 when they had exited the Rugby World Cup at the quarter final stage and two years ago he took charge of the Brumbies who were also at a low point.

Under White both the Springboks and the Brumbies achieved successes beyond their expectations but this time he has inherited a team that is already winning titles.

“I never wanted to be known as the chap who always takes over teams that are finished, as in you always have to pick them up from the ashes,” White admitted.

“By default it has always happened like that for me, the times when I have joined teams it is almost as if it doesn’t matter what happens; they can only go up.

“But we are settled, we have senior players, Currie Cup winners and a positive energy, which is great. They’ve got everything in place, so it is great time to take over.

“But what I’ve stressed to the players is that I want to start from day one with everyone having a fair understanding of what I’m looking for in a player.

“Here’s an example: if you were a third-choice winger, and we think you can be a first-choice outside centre, then you’ll start for The Sharks at outside centre. That’s what’s so exciting; hopefully everyone can have a fair crack at making a name for themselves by this time next year.

“The realistic thing is that all the lessons I’ve learnt in those success stories I’ve had with my past teams are almost the same things The Sharks are doing here anyway.”

The Sharks 2014 Super Rugby draw features two home matches, a bye and then two more home matches before they play their first away match – although that too is in South Africa.

Some feel that an early bye is not as valuable as a bye later in the season which gives tired bodies a chance to rest but White sees the benefits of an early bye.

“I think it’s a fantastic draw,” said White on the Sharks site.

“Both times when I was coaching the Brumbies, when we did well, it coincided with us having our byes early on,” he points out.

“A lot of people initially thought that was a negative because it would break your rhythm, but we get two byes almost in the first month, and that’s fantastic because what it allows is for the competition to unfold on its own without you being involved.

“You can also get a feel for how the referees are going to blow things and what the emphasis will be on early on. “

“Also with the 11 Springboks we have, having a bye early on also allows them to freshen up for what’s in store for them for the rest of the year.”

The Sharks Super Rugby Draw

Saturday 15 February: Sharks v Bulls (Kings Park) 19:10
Saturday 22 February: Sharks v Hurricanes (Kings Park) 17:05
Saturday 8 March: Sharks v Lions (Kings Park) 19:10
Saturday 15 March: Sharks v Reds (Kings Park) 17:05
Saturday 22 March: Bulls v Sharks (Loftus Versfeld) 19:10
Saturday 29 March Sharks v Waratahs (Kings Park) 17:05
Saturday 12 April Lions v Sharks Ellis Park, Johannesburg 19:10
Saturday 19 April: Sharks v Cheetahs (Kings Park) 15:00
Friday 25 April: Sharks v Highlanders (Kings Park) 19:10
Friday 2 May: Rebels v Sharks (AAMI Park) 11:40
Saturday 10 May: Brumbies v Sharks (Canberra Stadium) 11:40
Saturday 17 May: Crusaders v Sharks (AMI Stadium) 9:35
Friday 23 May: Blues v Sharks (North Harbour Stadium) 9:35
Saturday 31 May: Sharks v Stormers (Kings Park) 19:10
Saturday 5 July: Cheetahs v Sharks (Free State Stadium) 19:10
Saturday 12 July: Stormers

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