According to an article on Netwerk24, Paarl Boys’ High have narrowed down their search from 74 applicants to just 7 shortlisted candidates for the soon to be vacant highly sort after position of director of rugby slash head coach.
The article goes on to mention that successful incumbent Sean Erasmus will indeed be heading up junior rugby at the Golden Lions Rugby Union next year, even though Erasmus himself is not able to confirm yet what his exact role will be.
Of the 7 candidates, Netwerk24 were only able to leak the names of 4, of which 3 have basically been linked with the post for a few weeks already.
The newest name is that of recent Japanese league club Docomo Red Hurricanes coach Dawie Theron. The former Bok prop of 13 tests built his coaching reputation at the Griquas during a time when their rugby was strong. This paved the way for him to get the SA under-20 job. Although he guided the Baby Boks to a world championship title in 2012, his time in charge was one associated with criticism over a lack of game-plan vision, under-preparedness of the players and one-dimensional tactics. Theron took over a fairly poor setup and definitely added more structure to the under-20 selection and pre-Junior World Championship development however the surfacy impression remained that he didn’t work hard enough in the months leading up to the event for the team to succeed. So instead of it being a step up in his career, it sort of nosedived. It’s hard to judge his success in Japan without really knowing the surrounding circumstances but Theron did cut his stay down to 2 years of a 3-year deal with no set rugby job prospects in the pipeline upon his return to South Africa.
With the general public’s senior rugby expectations remaining extremely in spite of many adverse factors affecting pro rugby in the country, a major one being tighter that ever purse strings, it is difficult to be a success story in that field now and in some cases even the coaching contracts do not offer the same level of job security as they once did. So it’s little wonder that coaches with useful CV’s like Theron’s one, are looking more to schoolboy rugby, where there is the same amount perhaps even a little more pressure at times, but it’s in a working environment that is financially sound, well organised and very efficiently run.
Interestingly, along with Theron, the other 3 known candidates all have well-established roots in the Central region of the land and like Theron, 2 of them have quit their head coaching posts.
Both Brent Janse van Rensburg (resigned Pumas head coach) and Peter Engledow (contract not renewed Griquas head coach) have respectable reputations as coaches. Engledow is perhaps the great anomaly because before the Griquas he was a English RFU development official for 8 years. Janse van Rensburg CV suggests he is a bit of job hopper. The last thing Boishaai will want is a coach who hands in his resignation a month before Paarl Interskole to take up a “better” offer. The HJS folks should have learnt something from their big rivals Paarl Gim, whose coach Pieter Rossouw put their 1st XV on the backburner in 2017, to take up a temporary but financially rewarding Japanese coaching post. That deal worked out very badly for Gim’s 2017 season. The moral of the story is get a coach who is 110% committed and who has shown a high level of loyalty to causes in the past.
The last of the mentioned candidates is Andre Tredoux, who small world, was one of Theron’s assistants in Japan for a while before returning to take up the vacant assistant coaching job at Boishaai earlier this year. This prompted many to believe that he would be Erasmus’ replacement and it did come across as excellent planning by the powers that be at the school to ensure a smooth transition to a very capable coach. Like Erasmus, Tredoux had a humble beginning at a very small school in KZN and even coached alongside Erasmus at Glenwood High School for a while as both coaches climbed the ladder to the top. He really built his credentials at the Leopards and then the Cheetahs, where on a very limited budget he put together successful under-19 teams, that not only held their own, they toppled a few much richer big unions teams along the way. Perhaps this Boishaai 150th birthday year of 2018 not going according to plan, especially in relation to the results the same group achieved at under-16A level, Tredoux’s stocks have dropped a bit??? Nevertheless between Tredoux, Theron, Janse van Rensburg and Engledow, there are plenty of top schools who would kill to have their experience onboard.
Given the success of two KZN coaches in the ultra competitive Western Province Premier League in recent seasons: Sean Erasmus (astonishing feat of 3 unbeaten WPPL seasons in a row) and Paul Roos’ director of rugby Ryno Combrinck (debut season unbeaten in the WPPL), it’s a wonder why Galpille decision-makers are not looking to that part of the rugby landscape for the next prodigy. With 3 of the shortlisted names not yet made public, maybe they are?