Wellington rugby coach John Plumtree will leave New Zealand at the end of the Air New Zealand Cup in November to be assistant coach of the Sharks Super 14 side next year.
Sharks coach Dick Muir and Plumtree were teammates at Natal in 1990 and he has strong family links to South Africa.
Plumtree will take up the post of assistant coach in Durban, South Africa when Theo Oosthuizen vacates the position at the end of the current season.
Oosthuizen has decided not to renew his contract with the Sharks due to work commitments.
Plumtree coached the Lions for five seasons, twice taking them to the NPC final.
Wellington Rugby CEO Malcolm Holmes says Plumtree's move will be a big loss.
"We're very disappointed to be losing John, but we fully understand the reasons why he has decided to make this move. He has very strong family and personal links with Durban and wore the Natal jersey for seven seasons," Holmes said.
"I would like to thank John for the massive contribution he has made to Wellington Rugby. We have enjoyed a very successful period with him at the helm, reaching two home NPC finals and turning a very young squad into a genuine force in provincial rugby, developing All Blacks and future All Blacks along the way.
"John remains fully focused on this year's Air New Zealand Cup and is determined to do everything he can to ensure that the Vodafone Wellington Lions are the first winners of the new trophy.
"We will advertise the role at the end of the Air New Zealand Cup season, however Wellington is well placed in terms of possible options such as Chris Boyd, Jamie Joseph and Dave Loveridge."