Varsity Cup

Chris Rossouw helping Maties

2012-02-17 07:45
Chris Rossouw in his playing days for WP Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Former Western Province flyhalf Chris Rossouw seems to be a more pragmatic coach than the flamboyant rugby player he was.

Rossouw, who was Western Province's hero from the flyhalf position when they last won the Currie Cup in 2001, was known in his playing days as a player who liked spread the ball wide.

These days the 35-year-old is the backline coach of Stellenbosch University, following in the footsteps of his older brother Pieter, the backline coach at the Bulls.

Rossouw jokingly told Die Burger newspaper that winning ugly is fine for him as a coach, even if that was not his style as a player. And winning ugly was exactly what his Maties team did on Monday evening when they scored a last-gasp rolling-maul try to defeat Pukke in Potchefstroom.

"The Varsity Cup has become an important competition. You can't think that you’re just going to run straight through everyone.

"Yes, you can run the ball from your own goal-line when the opportunity presents itself but you have to get a player at a level where he can make a good decision within a fraction of a second," said Rossouw.

Rossouw's first coaching stint was with his old alma-mater, Paarl Gymnasium in 2010. Last year he helped Victorians (Maties's B-team) and was this year drafted in to assist Maties coach Chean Roux.

Rossouw left Western Province at the end of 2005 to play for Toulon in France. There he learned valuable coaching principles from Tana Umaga and Tim Lane. He returned to South Africa and played for the Free State Cheetahs in 2008's Currie Cup before retiring.

"The first thing is the pattern you establish. Then you have to ensure that the team performs at an optimum level via the environment you create - your game plan, culture, values and respect for each other," said Rossouw.

However, Rossouw has not made it his goal to become a full-time coach. He also works as an insurance broker.

"I haven't achieved anything yet as a coach, so I can't really say that I want to progress further."

Rossouw's breakthrough season as a player came in 2000 when he went from playing for Maties to the Springboks' midweek team. A logistical nightmare on that year-end tour meant that only 11 players could practice in the build-up to a game against Ireland "A". The rest of the team joined the Boks the evening before the match and, as expected, they lost.


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