Bloemfontein - Free State Cheetahs head coach Rory Duncan has experienced a quick transition since retiring as a player three years ago.
Duncan, 37, is remembered as a journeyman in South African rugby.
He represented KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Province on the domestic scene between 1999 and 2005, when the unions were still known as the Wildebeeste and Might Elephants respectively.
He then made a move to Bloemfontein in 2006, representing the Cheetahs in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup. He captained the team to the Currie Cup title in 2007, before enjoying an overseas stint in Japan with Yamaha Jubilo between 2008 and 2010.
He made a return to the EP Kings for two seasons before retiring after the 2011 Currie Cup First Division campaign.
However, Duncan decided to remain in the game via coaching.
He coached top rugby school Grey High in Port Elizabeth in 2011 and 2012. After impressive results on the national schools scene, he accepted a post at Free State, taking charge of the Vodacom Cup and Under-21 teams. This year, he was promoted to Currie Cup coach during Naka Drotske's absence.
Duncan said he has enjoyed the experience.
"Yes, it's been a quick elevation since retirement, but it hasn't been a steep learning curve for me," Duncan told MyPlayers website. "I found myself in a leadership position for an extensive period during my playing career. I captained many teams during the last nine seasons as a player, so I quickly developed leadership experience.
"Going into coaching was a natural decision for me. It was a way for me to not only remain in the game, but to give back too."
Duncan said he's found professional coaching much easier than amateur coaching.
"In a professional set-up, there might be more pressure to win, but you have much more time with the players, who dedicate most of their time to rugby," explained Duncan.
"While at school level, I only had a limited amount of time with the boys as they had to focus on several other commitments."
Duncan added that he hopes to continue his elevation through the coaching ranks.
"I'll probably continue coaching the Free State Vodacom Cup side next season, but one day soon, I'd love to be involved in the Super Rugby set-up."
Considering his quick elevation to date, don't be surprised if you see Duncan coaching at higher levels sooner rather than later.
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