Durban, 4th May 2023:  The Sharks Director of Rugby, Neil Powell today confirmed the appointment of the much-loved former Natal player and Sharks coach John Plumtree, who returns to the fold as Head Coach of the senior team.

Plumtree will be ably assisted by the experienced and well-liked Dave Williams who also returns to The Sharks as an assistant coach.

With Powell taking over the reins as head coach late last year, he now reverts to his Director of Rugby role at the Cell C Sharks, with Plumtree coaching the senior team, starting 1 July 2023.

Plumtree’s coaching career in Durban began in 2007 when he was assistant to Dick Muir when The Sharks hosted the Super Rugby Final at Hollywoodbets Kings Park, before the New Zealander took over the reins as head coach between 2008 and 2012.

There he played an important role, winning Currie Cup titles in 2008 and 2010 as coach and taking the Cell C Sharks to the 2012 Super Rugby Final.

His successes with the Cell C Sharks were not only limited to coaching, but as a player under the late Ian McIntosh, he won Currie Cup titles in the historic 1990 final, and again in 1996, having represented Natal in 80 games as a tough, mobile flank between 1988 and 1997.

Plumtree is highly regarded in his native New Zealand and abroad, boasting an impressive coaching record, having won titles in Wales, South Africa and New Zealand and was a candidate for the All Black apex role as head coach after his role as assistant coach to Ian Foster between 2020 and 2022.

Commenting on the senior coaching structure and Plumtree’s appointment, Director of Rugby Neil Powell said: “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.”

Plumtree added: “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.”

Powell concluded by stating: “We have a long pre-season ahead of us and this is the ideal opportunity for us to plan, discuss the way forward and identify what we want to achieve as a team for next season and beyond.”