SARU 'think-tank' in action
Cape Town - A new high performance 'think-tank' of top rugby coaches has been
established by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) to assist elite
teams at all age levels of the game.
The ground-breaking initiative for South African rugby will see a
contracted team of specialist coaches in the ‘HP Mobi-Unit’ visit
franchises, SARU national teams and even schools teams to share
cutting-edge rugby knowledge.
“We are very excited about this new initiative,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of
SARU. “Historically, SARU have taken a ‘hands off’ approach to coaching
interventions at the elite level. That was exclusively left to the
“But times have changed and as the game has become more technical and
more analytical, the resources required to keep up to date have
exploded. SARU can pool the resources we have in our national coaching
panels as well as offer access to the considerable rugby knowledge we
have on our staff.”
The HP Mobi-Unit is the brainchild of Rassie Erasmus, who was appointed as SARU’s General Manager of High Performance in 2012.
He has contracted specialist consultants into the Mobi-Unit to cover key areas of play:
• Pieter de Villiers, the former French international prop, will concentrate on scrumming
• Louis Koen, former Springbok flyhalf, will be responsible for the tactics and practice of kicking play
• Chean Roux, former Stormers looseforward and title-winning
University of Stellenbosch coach, will be responsible for technical
• Jacques Nienaber, the highly-regarded DHL Stormers defensive
coach, will advise on defensive play. Nienaber’s involvement will,
however, only be outside of the DHL Stormers’ Vodacom Super Rugby
• Rassie Erasmus, former Springbok looseforward and Absa Currie
Cup-winning Free State Cheetahs coach, will concentrate on lineouts,
gameplan and performance analysis.
“We have a massive amount of rugby expertise contracted to SARU through
our national teams and in our offices, but it has been under utilised in
the past,” said Erasmus.
“What we’re now offering is a back up to coaches in the form of a pool
of consultants in specialist areas who can share their considerable
experience as well as pass on the latest thinking.
“This is a three-year project, which we hope will broaden the base of
rugby knowledge at the elite level by opening a two-way conversation.
“Critically, by establishing a common approach to play at the elite
level, we hope it will ultimately assist the Springbok coach in getting
maximum value out of the short time he has to prepare teams for Test
The HP Mobi-Unit was in action this week at the Junior Springbok
training camp with Koen, De Villiers, Roux and Erasmus all working with
players and the coach Dawie Theron’s management team.
Other Springbok coaching and medical staff will be utilised on an ad hoc basis, Springbok commitments permitting.
Erasmus said that the Unit’s technical analysis of matches throughout the competition would be pooled with franchises.
“One of the criticisms of SARU in the past among franchise coaches was
that they didn’t receive much technical rugby input from us,” said Roux.
“By establishing this unit we have created a vehicle for a knowledge
transfer in two directions at once which will be for the benefit of all
our teams and, most importantly, for the Springboks.”