Wow! This is going to be one for the books. Westville who form an integral part of KZN school rugby and yet seem to have been marginalised in the all-important under-18 youth week decision-making process for many years now, will soon have the Craven Week head coach and with him a KZN Sharks under-18 selector’s vote. This all happens once highly rated coach Jeremy McLaren joins their staff – (expected 01 November).
Let’s hope no-one feels too threatened by this move as it does bring about a really nice even spread of the selectors’ votes amongst the key schools, provided all other things remain consistent.
McLaren’s move comes as a bit of a surprise. He was only in charge of the Glenwood 1st XV for this past one season having gained promotion to that role from the u16A, and was expected to be in charge of that same talented u16 group at 1st XV level in 2018.
The Westville shift may still see McLaren in the role of head coach, with Dirkie Strydom who had held the job for this 2017 season, stepping into a type of rugby director’s role. However this is unconfirmed.
COACHING MOVEMENTS IN KZN
It is the second big coach news item coming out of KZN in the last few weeks, after Michaelhouse stalwart Ryno Combrinck was announced as Paul Roos’ new rugby head.
In other known moves, Michaelhouse picked up old boy James Fleming from the EPRU (and Sharks before that) to head up an interesting portfolio as the head of sports medicine and he’ll also be actively involved in 1st XV rugby coaching. Sam Mofokeng, having worked at various private schools, has finally paid all his dues and is set to take charge of the Michaelhouse 1st XV in 2018. He replaces Andre van Wyk who steps down to a lower A-team after a couple of years in charge at the top. Remember Michaelhouse have also effectively lost the services of former 1st XV head coach Michael Schwartz to St Alban’s in Pretoria. The master in charge of sport position is up for grabs at Michaelhouse so there could still be a significant new face at Balgowan before long.
Jo-Ash van Aswegen, Westville 1st XV assistant coach for the past few years and former head boy has joined Clifton as head of rugby, in what now looks like a neat WOB core, as two key figures in the Morningside school’s setup Ross Saayman and Grant Bell are also both alumni from the leafy suburbs of ‘Ville.
Jo-Ash takes the place vacated by Jono Piek, a Glenwood old boy and current KZN under-18 selector. Piek is one of the new faces at Glenwood.
It felt like it was only yesterday when Shawn van Rensburg was named as Glenwood’s new director of rugby, but it was actually back in 2014. He made a quick and quiet exit during April and now plies his trade at DHS.
During the season Northwood’s man in charge Grant Bashford resigned in order to move to a Japanese rugby club. He was replaced as head coach by his assistant Torsten Sorensen, who was part of the big exodus from Westville a couple of years back. Dick Muir stepped into the director of rugby role for the rest of the 2017 season but there is every chance of seeing Muir as part of the Sharks ranks next year and not with Northwood. After four years at the helm Northwood headmaster Paul McAvoy also called it quits. The headmaster appointment usually has a bearing on rugby direction at a school.