Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

John Plumtree’s return to Sharks signals start of ‘new era’

The head coach position became vacant late last year when Sean Everitt was sacked.

Former coach John Plumtree is back at the Sharks.

The Durban-based rugby union announced on Thursday that Plumtree was to return to the Sharks as head coach from next season. He will start work on July 1.


Plumtree was most recently involved with the All Blacks as an assistant coach. He previously also coached the Hurricanes in Suer Rugby and before that he was at the Sharks where he led the team between 2007 and 2012.

The 57-year-old also coached in Japan and Ireland after leaving the Sharks.

As a player Plumtree turned out for Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay and the Sharks.

The position of head coach has been filled most recently by director of rugby at the Sharks, Neil Powell, following the sacking late last year of Sean Everitt.

Powell is expected to return to his director of rugby role.

Former Sharks assistant coach, attack specialist, Dave Williams will also be returning to the team, as Plumtree’s assistant.

Dave Willliams
David Williams. Picture: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

‘New era’

Powell said the return off Plumtree to Durban was the start of a “new era”.

“For us it’s the start of a new era getting Plum to head up the senior coaching structures with Dave Williams coming in as an assistant coach.

“This is an exciting time and a great opportunity to welcome back two vastly experienced coaches that understand our culture, the environment and know what it takes to wear this jersey.

“Plum is an experienced and astute coach that has coached at the highest level. We are delighted to have him return to the Sharks set-up and lead our senior team. I am sure he is looking forward to hitting the ground running in July, as we prepare for the new season ahead.”

‘Excellence is non-negotiable’

Plumtree said he was happy to be back at “home” in Durban.

“Durban has always been my home away from home for many years and I have the fondest memories of my time here both as a player and a coach. I look forward returning to the Sharks set-up and working with a talented group of players.

“The Sharks are a proud global brand and naturally everyone associated with the brand wants results. Excellence is a non-negotiable and I am fully committed to doing everything I can to achieve our objectives and make our fans proud.”