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Rugby | SuperSport Rugby Challenge

Ricardo Loubscher © Gallo Images

Backs dominate new coaching faces in SRC

With development being the watchword of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge, it’s easy to forget that the tournament is also a place where coaches can cut their teeth. Since last year’s inaugural tournament, no less than a handful of unions have changed coaches. Here are the new coaching faces.

Herkie Kruger – Xerox Golden Lions

Age: 39


For a man named after Hercules, Kruger didn’t turn out to be a particularly big sort, measuring only 1.83m and 86kg as a player. One thing he had, though, was a massive heart, playing flyhalf with a determination and bravery not associated with a position in which Naas Botha once played. The former Sharks, Griquas, Cheetahs and Lions player was assistant coach when last year’s free-scoring Lions came unstuck against Griquas in the semifinals. His immediate mandate will be to surmount that hurdle.

David Manuel – Vodacom Blue Bulls

Age: 38


Having filled out a little and shaved his shock of hair, Manuel may not be immediately recognisable as the skilful and counter attack-minded fullback who played the game with the biggest afro ever seen at Loftus Versfeld. Due to injury, as well as a couple of players blocking his progress at Loftus, Manuel’s career was probably not as significant as he would have liked. But having won the SuperSport Rugby Challenge in its guise as the Vodacom Cup in 2001, this is as good a place as any for his career as a head coach to kick off.

Tiger Mangweni – Border Bulldogs

Age: 37


As a player, Mangweni was a case in point for exactly the kind of player the SuperSport Rugby Challenge is looking to unearth. Born in Nxarhuni, outside East London, he went to Ntsonkotha Senior Secondary School – not exactly the pathway to first class rugby in SA – but still ended up playing for not only Border but for the Bulls and the Stormers as well. In last year’s competition he was the Bulldogs’ defence coach.

Daan Human – Toyota Free State XV

Age: 42


Human is the only forward in this group. The former loosehead prop was born in Bloemfontein and for a while formed one half of the Daan and Faan (Rautenbach) show playing for the Griffons’ junior teams before fetching up at the Stormers. From there he made the Springbok team, for whom he played four times before being one of the first few players to take up a contract with a French club side when he signed with Toulouse in 2004. He was the head coach of the Cheetahs’ Currie Cup side last season.

Ricardo Loubscher – Cell C Sharks XV

Age: 43


Another familiar face for Springbok fans and another player who knows how to walk the unconventional walk to the Bok team, having started in the townships of Port Elizabeth, and played for Eastern Province before coming into prominence with the Sharks. In later years he moved up north to the Bulls, where he would retire as a player. Having cut his coaching teeth at the Bulls, he then became one of Heyneke Meyer’s assistant coaches when the latter was Bok coach.


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