SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus and Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber presented the latest masterclass last week in the latest of a series of sessions of the course that have been presented to the participants in the past few months.

A total of 101 nominations were received from the country’s provincial unions late last year for the programme, which is fully funded by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) and has been in the development phase for two years.

After an intense review and interview process, the group of selected coaches was narrowed down to 32, with 18 of them being hand-picked for the inaugural year of the programme in 2022.

The participants include SA Women’s U20 coach and DHL Western Province Women’s head coach Laurian Johannes-Haupt, SA Sevens Academy Head Coach Sandile Ngcobo, Vodacom Bulls defence coach Joey Mongalo, as well as DHL Stormers and Cell C Sharks skills coaches Labeeb Levy and Phiwe Nomlomo.

The other 14 coaches, meanwhile, have been participating in a development programme which includes working with an industrial psychologist to equip them to follow in the footsteps of their counterparts in future.

“This programme marks a big step for SA Rugby to fast-track the development of our top up-and-coming black coaches and to achieve our coaching transformation goals,” said SA Rugby President, Mr Mark Alexander.

“Our vision with this custom-made SA Rugby programme has been to bolster the standing of these coaches within the high-performance structures throughout the country with an eye on equipping them to coach at provincial and international level.

“The process to select the final group of 18 coaches was rigorous and an intense few months of learning has been planned for them. Each one of these individuals showed that they have the potential to become elite coaches.”

Eddie Myners (left) and Lungisa Kama (right) assist Stanley Raubenheimer with the Springbok Women's team.

Eddie Myners (left) and Lungisa Kama (right) assist Stanley Raubenheimer with the Springbok Women's team.

Erasmus said: “Over the years we have seen a number of black coaches with the potential fail to receive opportunities to coach at the highest level, which includes the Carling Currie Cup and Vodacom United Rugby Championship, and unfortunately very few have made their way through the ranks.

“This triggered the need to take this process out of the hands of the franchises and take action as SA Rugby.

“This is the first of its kind in South Africa, so we know it will take hard work behind the scenes and that we’ll have to learn and adapt along the way, but it was vital to create a system that allows us to simulate that high-pressure coaching environment and bridge the gap to speed up the process where our most talented black, up-and-coming coaches can advance to the top rugby structures at the elite level of the game.

“It was an absolute pleasure for Jacques and I to present a coaching class to close to 100 participants last week, and I must admit, it is has been enlightening to learn from their experiences as well.

“The coaches who are not part of the final 18 have still been involved in the programme albeit via a different path, but this is a very exciting initiative, and we have a very competent team, which includes our Springbok and Springbok Women’s coaches who have been involved hands-on throughout the programme.”

The objectives of the coaching programme include developing them to flourish in high-performance and high-pressure environments, and includes vital factors such as personal mastery, situational competence and dexterity, building mental strength and building media competence in an environment with numerous simultaneous challenges.

The participants have also had several “coaching master-classes” touching on coaching in a high-performance environment, organisational learning and the evolution and understanding of humanity within a team set-up.

The course runs until December and the participants will be required to submit assignments throughout the year in addition to attending several information sessions and master classes.

SA Rugby Elite Coaching Development participants:

  • Paul Delport – Springbok Women’s Sevens coach
  • Henley du Plessis – Toyota Free State Under-20 coach
  • Etienne Fynn – Cell C Sharks Carling Currie Cup coach
  • Laurian Johannes-Haupt – DHL Western Province Women’s and SA Women’s U20 coach
  • Norman Jordaan – Maties FNB Varsity Cup coach
  • Lungisa Kama – Springbok Women’s assistant coach
  • Wilbur Kraak – DHL Western Province club consultant
  • Labeeb Levy – DHL Stormers skills coach Vodacom United Rugby Championship
  • David Manuel – Madibaz FNB Varsity Cup coach
  • Jonathan Mokuena – University of Johannesburg (UJ) FNB Varsity Cup coach
  • Joey Mongalo – Vodacom Bulls defence coach Vodacom United Rugby Championship
  • Eddie Myners – Springbok Women’s assistant coach
  • Sandile Ngcobo – SA Rugby Sevens Academy head coach
  • Phiwe Nomlomo – Cell C Sharks skills coach Vodacom United Rugby Championship
  • Jason Oliphant – University of KwaZulu-Natal FNB Varsity Cup coach
  • Lance Sendin – SA Schools coach
  • Franzel September – Boland Cavaliers Carling Currie Cup coach
  • Hanyani Shimange – DHL Stormers scrum consultant Vodacom United Rugby Championship