The correspondence from former Rugby World Cup winning Springbok flyhalf and Maritzburg College Old Boy, Butch James reads as follows: “please see attached invitation to join Jake White and Myself to a Cocktail Party to discuss U19 Rugby at the Sharks and other rugby matters going forward. Hope to see you there and to get your input.”
Apart from being an introduction, it also looks like it will be an attempt by the Sharks to establish better or different working relationships with the local schools. No doubt the Sharks will be looking to get something out of this. Even if this is the case, hopefully something worthwhile and lasting comes out of the “get your input” part where the school coaches get to share their thoughts. For this to happen school coaches will need to be bold, honest and optimistic that the new Sharks management is going to listen and take them seriously.
With regards to Butch possibly being the new Sharks under-19 procurer, his high profile status is bound to open doors but his lack of experience at this stage does raise some questions about whether or not he will be able to perform the job successfully.
Here are a few of those questions:
- Has he got the required eye for talent scouting?
- What are his communicating and negotiating skills like?
- Can he converse in Afrikaans and/or relate to families from traditionally Afrikaans backgrounds? (It’s perhaps not an essential but it is worth bearing in mind that the vast majority of top SA players are brought up with Afrikaans as their first language).
- What is his knowledge of contract law like?
- Has he got the necessary integrity to withstand the pressures of a job that is know for challenging morals and ethics on a daily basis?
- As a new coach trying to establish him and with commitments at the union and to the Varsity Shield team, where will he find the necessary time to scout?
In the interests of the Sharks continuing to perform well in the years to come, favourable answers to the above would be welcomed.