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Sharks spark major off-field upheaval

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Major upheaval at the under-performing Sharks

It’s been a year of upheaval for the Sharks, who are not only saying goodbye to numerous players ahead of the 2020 Super Rugby season but who are also set to revamp their coaching and administrative staff.

The franchise announced on Wednesday that current chief operating officer Eduard Coetzee would be replacing Gary Teichmann as the chief executive officer at the Durban-based side and the incoming CEO has licence to make significant changes.

Coetzee is set to take on the role in September, but changes are already afoot at a franchise that has struggled in recent seasons, although they were able to make the quarter-finals of the Super Rugby playoffs this year where they lost 38-13 to the Brumbies.

One of Coetzee’s first tasks will be finding a new head coach, as the franchise has also parted ways with current head coach Robert du Preez.

After five seasons with the Sharks, initially as an assistant coach and thereafter as head coach, du Preez is now stepping aside, a decision the club claim is mutual.

Du Preez stated: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at The Sharks and I’m proud of what we have achieved.  I would have loved to put more silverware in the cabinet, but sometimes injuries to key players, the bounce of the ball or decisions going against your team prevents that.

“I look forward to the next phase of my coaching career and wish the team well for the future.  They can always count on my support.”

Outgoing CEO Teichmann said: “The Sharks thank Robert for his contribution over the past few years and what he managed to achieve by moulding a young group of players.  He leaves The Sharks with our good wishes for the next chapter in his coaching career.”

After Worcester Warriors confirmed that their head coach Rory Duncan was given permission to talk to other clubs on Monday, the former Cheetahs man will be heavily linked with a role in Durban, as well as the vacant position at the Southern Kings where he is on a four-man shortlist for the job.

As for du Preez, he is not the only member of his family to be leaving the Sharks this year, with son and fly-half Robert having agreed a permanent move to Sale Sharks in the Gallagher Premiership.

The younger du Preez will be joined by his two brothers, Dan and Jean-Luc du Preez, who are taking up short-term deals in the north-west of England before returning to Durban in early 2020.

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Major upheaval at the under-performing Sharks