School rugby coaching / official changes ahead of 2020




During October 2019 the legend that is Grant “Griffy” Griffiths – a man who has earned heaps of praise over the years for his ability to mould raw talent – parted ways with Dale for a second time to move to the Western Cape. Although the Dale community were united in wishing him well, undoubtedly many many Old Dalians deep down inside will be hoping that he will return as quickly if not sooner than he did the last time out. However there does seem to be a bit of a permanency feel about GG’s move this time. Dale has become a frustrating and ambiguously draining place to continue the good work of rugby as the school’s resources are stretched and their best players are constantly being targeted by “richer” schools who are often “poorer” when it comes to developing their own boys. The new head coach Royden Kennedy was mentored by GG.


One of the names to commit to long term memory is that of Phiwe Nonlomo, who coached the SA u18 B team in 2019. He’s spreading his wings once again in order to move up the rugby hierarchy by leaving his Alma Mater for the Sharks this time where the rugby union’s resources will hopefully be in place to take full advantage of the talent he has to offer. His vacated 1st XV head coaching post at East London’s top rugby high school is set to be shared by co-coaches Chase Morison and Mark Farnham who both know the set up really well already.


Paarl Boys’ High said their farewells to one of their legends – Deputy Headmaster Richard Visagie who put in a massive innings of 41 years of dedicated service starting way back in 1978. He retired from full-time teaching service as he had reached the age of 65. Deputy Headmaster, Departmental Head of English, Head of Discipline, Head of Sport ,Grade Head of grades 12 and 6, part of the School marketing department and Head of Fundraising where on his long list of functions by 2019. In rugby circles he will always be well-remembered as a former head coach and was a scrumming guru of note.


An incredible service record of 39 years came to an end with senior deputy headmaster Keith Guise-Brown calling it a day. He had started at College in 1981. Those first few years alongside the rugby field must have been awesome. Amongst his different portfolios over the years, he was once the master-in-charge of rugby. He was a noticeable figure alongside the field at just about every MC match. As a fitting tribute, the school dining hall will now bear his name.


Durbies have acquired the services of Hans Coetzee to head up their ever-improving rugby structure. Oom H’s name is synonymous with that of the Monument Witbulle, having worked and coached at the school for the best part of 29 years. He also been part of the Golden Lions RU structures and more recently served at Noordheuwel  and even helped out Witteberg of Bethlehem.


Go-getter Rocky Truter was a big loss for Nories. The enthusiatic head coach and director of rugby is keen to expand his horizons in the field of marketing as an alternative long career path and so took up a post at Helpmekaar, where he will coach their u15A’s as well. WP Laidlaw, the assistant coach for the last two seasons takes the reins. Stefan “Botter” Lourens is the new face at the Krugersdorp co-ed, having been appointed as Director of Rugby. SL has extensive experience the in role of Director of Rugby. He’s served in that capacity at Florida, St Andew’s and St John’s, in addition to his coaching work at the likes of Monnas, Menlopark and even for the Israeli national team.


2020 is a huge year for Affies. They celebrate a proud 100 years of existence. Part of the shake to improve their rugby for the big occasion that lies ahead was to acquire experienced Ryno van der Merwe, who parted ways with Garsfontein to join the the Witbulle of Pretoria. GvdM took up the position of Head of Rugby.


Hendré Marnitz stepped into the void left by Ryno van der Merwe. He assumed the role of Director of Rugby. Marnitz has very useful and current pro rugby experience, having worked as a Pro14 defensive coach for a Welsh team – the Dragons. He will be a 1st XV assistance coach at the Bere.


Up and coming young coach Carl Bezuidenhout was identified and rewarded for his achievements as the u15A HC. He will make that massive step up to take charge of the 1st XV in 2020. The enthusiasm will be backed up by plenty of experience amongst his support staff. James Fleming who stepped in to fill the position in 2018 will once again focus on his original job spec which amongst other things includes core rugby directing, upskilling and generating of greater synergy amongst all the teams’ players and coaches.


After 17 years of serving as the Sport Director, Kearsney stalwart and active rugby coach Keith Thompson was all set to retire at the end of 2019. His position, a fairly lucrative one was advertised. In the end it proved KT agreed to stay on for another two years, proving how difficult an asset he is to replace. Also former Michaelhouse 1st XV rugby coach and prominent KZN youth week coach Sam Mofekeng has rejoined Kearsney after ending his second spell at House.


Former Springbok, Brumbies, Sharks and Montpellier head coach Jake White will be a rugby consultant to the Donkeys of Worcester. Sylvester Booysen, formerly of Ben Viljoen (Grobersdal, Limpopo) was appointed as the school’s new Director of Rugby.


The Maroons announced the return of the accomplished Jacques Hanekom as head coach, backed by the might of the impressive and technically superior Stellenbosch Sports Academy. Benefitting for success and duly promoted up from u15A is Erhardt Muth who will be assistant coach along with Koos Eksteen, while Marinus Pretorius the former 1st XV head coach takes charge of the u16A starting in 2020.


Former test level referee Willie Roos has joined Gim in the role of rugby organiser, replacing Etienne van der Brink, who seemed as good as they come, when it came to marketing Gimmies rugby. Roos retired from on-field refereeing in 2009 and brought a lot of needed attention to the uncalled for abuse that officials suffer at the hands of some poorly behaved spectators.


After seeing his spendid CV and listening to a few testimonials, it was easy to understand why Durban High School appointed Nico le Roux as their new director of rugby. School however did not commit to an announcement of head coaching post. Former provincial player Ronnie Uys served as head coach for most of the season following the resignation of former DoR Scott Mathie right at the start of the 2019 campaign. Mathie has quickly and predictably made another step up in his coaching career path to the top and the DHS old boy is now the Griquas head coach, just a few months after joining as an assistant.


  1. Dale rugby certainly felt a massive blow following Griffy’s departure. A legend in so many ways, and one must not be to proud to admit that he saved our rugby from near demise when he took charge over a decade ago. Unlike many leaders who ‘monopolise’ a position for a long period of time, Griffy had the foresight to work closely with those who would possibly succeed him at some point. Hence there is no panic with Royden coming in – a trusted foot soldier and son of Dale. Dale rugby has been left in good hands.

    All the best Griffy…catch you for a few beers soon.

  2. Nico Malan has appointed a new person that is in charge of rugby and everyone believes Jaco Nepgen will make a difference. The 1st team also has a new coaching structure with the very successful /16 coach of 2019 stepping up. The boys have been in the gym since November and after a disastrous 2019 expectations is high for 2020.


Leave a Reply