CONFIRMED: Du Preez leaves Sharks
NEWS: After five seasons with the Sharks, initially as an assistant coach and thereafter as Head Coach, Robert du Preez is heading for the exit door.
According to the Sharks and Du Preez, the decision is a mutual one and both franchise and coach have parted ways amicably.
Du Preez remains a proud Shark, who represented this team as a former scrumhalf and held the Head Coach role in both the Currie Cup and Super Rugby competitions, in the latter taking the team to the knock-out rounds and quarter-final action in back-to-back campaigns.
Last year, the team caused a major upset in beating Western Province at Newlands to lift the Currie Cup trophy.
“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.” revealed the former Sharks CEO, Gary Teichmann, who was succeeded by COO Eduard Coetzee.
Robert du Preez stated: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at The Sharks and I am 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.”
In other news, the Sharks will also bid a fond farewell to the du Preez twins, Daniel and Jean-Luc, who came to the union fresh out of school and have both made an immense mark on the local and international rugby landscape.
Big, physical and abrasive, this loose-forward pairing frequently played together during their time with the Sharks in both the Super Rugby and the Currie Cup, with Jean-Luc making his test debut for South Africa in 2016 and Daniel a year later in 2017.
Jean-Luc spent a loan period with Sale Sharks in the UK in the latter part of 2018 before returning for Super Rugby action with the Sharks this year and both the brothers were destined for the same type of agreement this year.
Gary added: “Jean-Luc and Daniel were absolute stars in the black and white jersey and always showed great professionalism and commitment in every match that they played. It is important to state that the amicable parting of ways with Robert had absolutely no bearing on this move, which was negotiated before a decision on Robert’s future was taken.
“We are sad to lose players of their calibre, but they go with our blessings. They will be sorely missed.”, added Teichmann.
Daniel and Jean-Luc stated: “We are proud KZN boys and it was a dream come true to represent The Sharks. We have made good memories with the team and lifelong friendships, therefore this decision to move abroad was not an easy one to make. This opportunity was one that we could not turn down and are keen to experience playing in a new environment and testing ourselves against the best players in the northern hemisphere.
“We will miss home and our Sharks family.”