Super Rugby - Venter leaves Saracens to join Sharks

Saracens technical director Brendan Venter has agreed to join the Sharks amid sweeping changes at the misfiring South African Super Rugby franchise.

Premiership - Venter leaves Saracens to join Sharks

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Brendan Venter (PA Photos)

John Smit, the World Cup-winning captain with South African in 2007, will take up the post of chief executive at the Durban-based side from July 1 and will be joined a month later by Venter, a World Cup winner in 1995, in the role of Director of Rugby.

The Sharks - 10th in the 15th-strong Super Rugby table - also confirmed they will not be renewing the contract of New Zealand-born John Plumtree, who will end his five-year tenure as head coach at the end of the season.

Venter will take over the coaching of the side for the domestic Currie Cup season that starts on Aug. 9.

The announcements were made at the unveiling of Smit on Tuesday and the former hooker, who played 111 games for the Springboks in an 11-year international career, said he hoped the changes will spark a new era of success for the franchise.

"We can only be thankful for what John (Plumtree) has done for the Sharks over the years, he's given a lot," Smit said in a statement.

"It was purely a decision to freshen up and create some change for the players too. It was a difficult decision, but one based on creating something fresh and new."

Venter is currently acting as assistant coach to the South African Under-20 side at the Junior World Cup in France. He was appointed Director of Rugby at Saracens ahead of the 2009/10 season, but his role changed to that of technical director in 2011 after he returned to live in South Africa.

Smit worked with the 43-year-old while they were together at Saracens two years ago and said that experience has convinced him that Venter is the right man for the role with the Sharks.

"I've seen first-hand what he can and does do, he's created something quite special at Saracens in terms of rugby environment and the environment off the field as well," Smith said at a media briefing in Durban on Tuesday.

"It's something that appealed to me and the reason why I looked to get him here."

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