Plumtree Schmidt’s pick for Ireland job
The former Natal Sharks coach will take on the Irish forwards’ coaching role this season
John Plumtree: the former Natal Sharks coach is looking forward to working with Joe Schmidt and the Irish squad. Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images
John Plumtree is looking forward to renewing old acquaintances. The newly appointed Ireland forwards’ coach, who moves here from Durban’s Natal Sharks at the end of August, will not be coming into a totally unfamiliar Irish set-up after five years in South Africa.
Formerly from New Zealand’s Taranaki, Plumtree is not only familiar with Irish coach Joe Schmidt but also with the three Kiwi provincial coaches, newly appointed Connacht coach Pat Lam, Ulster’s Mark Anscombe and Rob Penney in Munster.
“I’ve had a long genial association with The Sharks as a player and a coach. But that’s all over now and I’m looking forward to a new venture with players in Ireland,” said Plumtree yesterday.
“I know a lot of the provincial coaches from my days in New Zealand and I’m looking forward to working with Joe and Les and the IRFU. Hopefully over the next couple of years we can put a lot of smiles on people’s faces in Ireland.”
While Plumtree may have left Durban under difficult circumstances when former Springbok captain John Smit came in as the new CEO with a new sweeping brush, the 48-year-old is very much Schmidt’s pick for the role.
“It will be new to me but then again I have watched them (Ireland) over the years. I’ve watched the team in the Six Nations and I know Irish teams have always been very tough to beat. Hopefully in the future we can make the side even tougher to beat.”
It will also be a clean break as well as a new start for Plumtree, who was reported to have been “hurt” by the manner in which he was let go in Durban at the end of June. The Sharks finished a poor 10th in the championship with a 50 per cent win rate and Plumtree found out through the media that Smit was to replace him in what was a public relations fiasco.
The Kiwi was also reported to have had had a verbal agreement with outgoing Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl that he would remain at the helm for at least the next two years.
Plumtree sought legal advice and threatened legal action against the franchise unless they kept to their part of the agreement. The matter was subsequently resolved.