Plumtree is an adopted South African Shark


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Current assistant to Sharks coach Dick Muir, John Plumtree was appointed Sharks Head Coach over the weekend and will take over in the hot seat as from 1 June when Muir takes up his role as assistant to Springbok coach Peter de Villiers.

‘All sorts of emotions went through my mind,’ he says of the appointment on the Sharks web site.

The appointment itself may not have been a huge surprise as Plumtree has had a hugely positive influence in his coaching role with the Sharks and coached the team in last year’s Currie Cup.

Plumtree spent five years coaching in Swansea and then another four at Wellington in New Zealand. He also spent time with the All Blacks.

‘When I left in 1997, I had the thought in the back of my mind that I would like to one day return to coach the Sharks,’ he explains.

‘It’s nice for a player who played a lot of games to come back and coach; Sharks rugby has been a big part of my life.’

Although a Plumtree is a New Zealander, he has a real affinity with South Africa and along with his family he now calls Durban home.

‘I have real empathy for South African people, my family is South African and I now have the opportunity to continue the work I have done over the past couple of years along with Dick Muir and Grant Bashford and the entire management group.

“My original plan was to stay for two years but I am excited about the talent here, I think we can win something.’

He certainly comes with a fine pedigree and may well have had a number of options open to him, but has chosen to remain with the Sharks.

‘If I didn’t like what was happening here, I wouldn’t be staying on,’ he says.

‘This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I am not intimidated by the head coaching role, I did it for good couple years.

‘I share the same philosophy with Dick on how to run a team environment, and nothing much is going to change. The players must enjoy what they are doing and where they are playing.’

Plumtree also admits that his aspirations don’t end with a head coaching role at Super 14 level. ‘Coaching nationally is something that really interests me, who knows, if I do a good job here that could become a reality.’

Right now though Plumtree is focusing on the Sharks and he will be looking to bolster the coaching staff and will initially look from within. ‘We are looking at another coach and have a number of applicants.

“We will look to grow a local coach in the Currie Cup, which I think is important, and then in the Super 14 we will bring in someone with experience.’

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