Naas ready for coaching role

2011-11-23 16:16
Naas Botha (File)
Cape Town - Former Springbok captain and flyhalf Naas Botha recently became one of the 30 000 coaches and referees to have qualified through a BokSmart rugby safety workshop, in preparation to take up a role as head coach of the first team of Waterkloof High School in Pretoria.

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The BokSmart qualification - run by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) in conjunction with the Chris Burger/Petro Jackson Players’ Fund - is compulsory for anyone who wants to coach or referee at any level of rugby in South Africa.

Botha, who represented South Africa in 28 Tests between 1980 and 1992, was the 29 934th person to be certified from 1 301 BokSmart courses presented across South Africa since the programme’s launch in July 2009.

“I really enjoyed the course and found it incredibly insightful,” said Botha. “BokSmart is great for rugby in South Africa and I believe that it could be beneficial to parents to also attend such courses, just for them to understand the code of conduct around the game better, which will probably lead to better behaviour next to the field,” said Botha.

“I’m excited about getting involved in coaching full time and found the BokSmart course essential in my preparations for next season. I can see it acting as a forum where the Laws of the game can be taken into account and possibly even adapted to make the game even safer.”

Wayne Viljoen, BokSmart Manager at SARU, lauded Botha for being so interactive at the course, and sharing some of his wealth of experience with the group: “This adds immense value when someone of Naas’s stature gets behind it and participates on the programme.

“It’s fantastic that the programme is also picking up momentum, as every serious injury is one injury too many. BokSmart is a world-class rugby safety programme that bears comparison with any initiative from among the top-tier rugby playing countries. Any player, coach or referee will benefit from the message we’re trying to spread,” said Viljoen.

Arno Grobbelaar, a BokSmart Trainer for the Blue Bulls Rugby Union, said it was hugely beneficial to have someone of Botha’s standing and experience in attendance.

“BokSmart is not only about safer rugby, but also about sensible coaching. Winners play smart rugby and Naas is a proven winner on the field. Through his involvement at SuperSport, where he analyses rugby matches from the perspective of coaches, players and referees, it was extremely valuable to have him on the course,” said Grobbelaar.

Naas took full part in the sessions, made suggestions and regularly engaged the other participants on the course on their areas of knowledge and expertise. In the end, BokSmart places the player’s future in safer hands by bringing together the various parties that play important roles in the safety of the game. Ultimately, we’d like to see a more professional and safer approach to rugby.”

A former South African Olympic track and field champion, Gert Potgieter, also attended the course. He is currently involved in a non-governmental organisation that uses sport as an upliftment tool in formerly disadvantaged communities; he is also involved in introducing rugby into these communities.

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