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Ken Borland

Man behind Bulls’ defensive steel in recent years brought in by Sharks for Currie Cup 0

Posted on August 16, 2022 by Ken

Joey Mongalo, the man behind the Bulls’ defensive steel in recent years, will take over as the Sharks’ Currie Cup head coach next season, the union confirmed on Monday.

Sean Everitt will continue to be the senior coach steering the Sharks’ United Rugby Championship campaign, while Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell will oversee all the coaches in his position of Director of Rugby, and will arrive at Kings Park in time for the start of the new European campaign in September.

Mongalo, a University of Pretoria Masters graduate, will get the chance to be a head coach again having won the U19 Currie Cup with the Lions in 2016 and 2017. His work as the Bulls defence coach from June 2020 was highly rated, with the franchise dominating local rugby with back-to-back Currie Cup titles as well as making the final of this year’s URC.

Etienne Fynn, who oversaw a disappointing Sharks Currie Cup campaign this year, will work under Mongalo as a scrum/forwards coach. Former Springbok wings JP Pietersen and Lwazi Mvovo, along with former Sharks U20 head coach Mike Vowles and former utility forward Luvuyiso Lusaseni, will make up the rest of Mongalo’s coaching staff.

The URC team has been boosted by the signing of former French international and Bayonne head coach Yannick Bru, who will fulfil the role of breakdown coach. Bru won the Champions Cup twice as a player with Toulouse, whom he also served as an assistant coach for five years, before becoming the French national team’s forwards coach.

Bru’s extensive knowledge of European rugby will obviously be of great value for the Sharks as they negotiate the challenges of taking on English and French clubs for the first time next season. He will be joined by Warren Whiteley, Phiwe Nomlomo, Noel McNamara and Aksventi Giorgadze as the URC assistant coaches.

Powell’s arrival after the Sevens World Cup in September will complete the new dawn of coaching at Kings Park.

“Neil will be at the helm, to develop and oversee all rugby structures within the Sharks and to ensure that our teams are aligned in terms of the identified coaching DNA,” Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee said.

“He will implement and manage an effective plan to achieve the franchise’s objectives, which is ultimately to win trophies. He will oversee the United Rugby Championship, as well as our first foray in the Champions Cup.

“As a globally respected and admired coach, we are confident that he will get the best out of the players and bring a winning mindset to The Sharks. We look forward to him joining us before the start of the URC season in September.
“Although we made the playoffs of the URC and qualified for the Champions Cup, we want to be even more competitive. A strong foundation has been laid, and the time has come for us to build from this,” Coetzee said.

Benkenstein back to SA, but not to Titans … at the moment 0

Posted on July 29, 2016 by Ken


Former Dolphins captain and Proteas ODI player Dale Benkenstein is returning to South Africa following his exit from the Hampshire coaching position, leading to speculation that he could be in line to take over from Rob Walter at the Titans, but the franchise confirmed on Wednesday that negotiations with the 42-year-old did not lead to anything concrete.

“We did negotiate with Dale Benkenstein but unfortunately we weren’t able to secure a contract with him,” Titans CEO Jacques Faul told The Citizen on Wednesday.

“Applications close today [Wednesday] for the position, but we reserve the right to head-hunt someone if the applicants are not of a suitable quality,” Faul added.

It would be premature, though, to dismiss Benkenstein as a candidate because the Titans’ initial talks with him happened before his departure from Hampshire was announced last weekend.

Faul said he was not sure whether Benkenstein had applied for the job as the CEO is currently on leave.

Benkenstein could not be reached for comment.

Foreigner coach idea not discounted by Saru, but Coetzee still favourite 0

Posted on December 05, 2015 by Ken


The idea that a foreigner could succeed Heyneke Meyer as the coach of the Springboks was not discounted by South African Rugby Union (Saru) president Oregan Hoskins on Friday, but a strengthened emphasis on transformation means Allister Coetzee surely remains the hot favourite to take over the poisoned chalice.

Meyer’s dignified exit from the role means Saru have a week in which to hunt down his successor and, with former Stormers coach Coetzee and current Lions mastermind Johan Ackermann the only realistic local candidates, speculation has been rife that the Springboks might have their first overseas coach.

“Yes, a foreigner is an option. We shouldn’t rule out anyone because we want best for South Africa, so we have to consider all the possibilities. There were 13 foreign coaches in charge at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, that’s the way things are going in rugby,” Hoskins said at Saru House in Cape Town on Friday as he addressed media about the Springbok coaching position.

John Plumtree and John Mitchell are the leading candidates in terms of overseas-born coaches, with both of them having led South African franchises in SuperRugby.

But Mitchell is likely to have a long list of demands – such as a four-year contract and being able to choose his own support team – which has been a sticking point in his negotiations to take over the Stormers coaching role.

Plumtree coached the Sharks for four years from 2008, winning two Currie Cup titles but generally under-performing in SuperRugby. Following his dismissal by the Sharks, the New Zealander became the Ireland forwards coach, before joining the successful Hurricanes side as an assistant in this year’s SuperRugby competition.

Former All Black Wayne Smith, a visonary attack coach for New Zealand’s 2011 and 2015 World Cup triumphs, has also been mentioned as a candidate but, like Mitchell and Plumtree, he would appear to be more likely to be involved as an assistant.

Coetzee, the backline coach in the Springboks’ 2007 World Cup win, has always been the favourite to succeed Meyer, having controversially lost out in 2008 when Peter de Villiers was appointed, but what has certainly caused his stock to rise were Hoskins’ comments that transformation would be a priority for the next coach of the national team.

“For the next four years, transformation will be key for us – we signed an agreement with Sascoc and the government. It has been Saru’s policy that the leadership doesn’t interfere in team selection, but we might have to look at that. It’s very difficult to have Saru interfering in team selection, but if policy is not implemented, then we would address that discreetly and find solutions. Anybody applying for Bok coach needs to know transformation is at the top of the agenda – otherwise don’t apply,” Hoskins said.

An overseas coach would probably struggle with the implementation of such transformation policy, while it is an area in which Coetzee, a former scrumhalf star in non-racial rugby, excelled during his time in Cape Town, while still guiding them to four appearances in the SuperRugby knockout phase as well as two Currie Cup titles.

Other favourites of the South African rugby public are Nick Mallett, who has however said he does not want to return to coaching, Robbie Deans, who, like Coetzee is currently coaching in Japan, and Ackermann.

The viewpoint of those involved in making the decision, however, would seem to be that Ackermann needs to gain more experience and win trophies with the Lions over the next four years.

Coetzee as head coach with a high-profile overseas assistant, and the involvement of Saru rugby general manager Rassie Erasmus, would appear to be what the governing body are currently angling for ahead of the expected announcement of the new Springbok management next Friday.



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