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Sharks confirm Neil Powell as new DoR

By Chris Jones
Neil Powell (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

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Neil Powell, who has guided the Blitzboks to a record-equalling 34-match winning streak, will end his nine years in charge by trying to win the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 before taking up a new role as director of rugby at the Durban based Sharks franchise.

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The Sharks have confirmed the appointment of Powell whose sevens squad has won the opening four tournaments of the 2022 World Rugby Sevens season making it an impressive six consecutive tournament wins since the end of last season. The Blitzboks next travel to Singapore in April and are already 18 points clear at the top of the Seven Series standings.

It makes Powell’s men firm favourites to win the Rugby World Cup Sevens being staged in Cape Town from 9-11 September and he is relishing the challenge of taking over the Sharks who are understood to be considering a bid for Toulon lock Eben Etzebeth, who is quitting the Top14 to return to South Africa.

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Powell said: “This is a new challenge for my personal development and an exciting opportunity that has been presented to me that I gladly accept with great honour. The Sharks is an unbelievable brand and I’m looking forward to working with the likes of Ed and Sean, who already have a strong vision of where they want to go in the future and if I can contribute in any way to achieving that vision that would be great.”

Sharks CEO Ed Coetzee said: “Neil is an unbelievable human being and what he has developed and achieved with the Blitzboks has been phenomenal. He has inculcated a strong work ethic and a sound culture at the Blitzboks where accountability and respect is at the fore.

“As director of rugby at The Sharks, Neil will oversee our entire on-field rugby programme and will support the various coaching teams within our set-up. He will be responsible for driving on-field high performance, team culture, standards and will ensure that there is a thorough process and a blueprint developed to achieve sustainable success at the highest level.

“Sean Everitt remains as head coach of the senior team and Sean will benefit from Neil’s experience, guidance and support as well as the operational structures that Neil will implement to ensure an optimal high performance working environment, which in turn drives performance on the field.”

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