De Bruin new Kings coach?
Johannesburg - The high-riding Emirates Lions team may lose one of their best coaches at the end of the season after it emerged that assistant coach Swys de Bruin is being head-hunted by the EP Kings to lead them into Vodacom Super Rugby next season.
According to supersport.com, the announcement could come as soon as this week, with the Lions remaining tight-lipped about the future of one of their key assets while the Kings continue to look to bolster their ranks ahead of the upcoming return to Super Rugby.
De Bruin still harbours ambitions of coaching at the highest level it seems, and the Kings may offer him that opportunity but it will be a big loss for the Lions if he goes as he played a massive part behind the scenes.
According to word out of Port Elizabeth, the deal is dependent on a new sponsorship announcement, which will provide the funds for De Bruin’s signature, and once that is complete, the coaching team will be finalised.
Carlos Spencer, appointed with such fanfare a season back, will effectively be demoted to serve as backline coach under De Bruin in such a scenario.
The Lions have broken all sorts of records this year, winning the most games in a Super Rugby season and playing a brand of rugby that has their fans excited about the future.
And in this all, De Bruin has quietly worked behind the scenes along with Johan Ackermann, and is said to be the mastermind behind the counter-attack that has worked so well for the Johannesburg side.
The Kings remain tight-lipped about the appointment, but more clarity is expected soon. EP President Cheeky Watson told the EP Herald last week the union wanted their coach in place as soon as possible.
“Finalising this issue is our top priority, at this stage, but we are not able to release any details until the deal has been signed and sealed,” EP Kings boss Cheeky Watson said.
“With the Currie Cup starting in August and three warm-up matches lined up, we understand the importance of putting our plans in place as soon as possible and we are working furiously on a daily basis to achieve finality on the issue.
“We are also frustrated that this is taking slightly longer than expected,” Watson said.
“Regarding the squad, we are already in the process of assessing our requirements and have identified areas in which we need to improve. Once we have finalised the team management, we will sit down with the coaching staff to discuss the way forward. The Saru contracting period opens on July 1.”
De Bruin has a long coaching CV behind his name before joining the Lions, including coaching various levels at the Natal Sharks – both at under-21, Academy and the Vodacom Cup side, but his best run came with Griquas, where he was head coach for five years from 1998-2003, taking them to three Vodacom Cup finals.
From 2004-2012 he was the head coach at the Sharks academy and the under-19 and under-21 skills coach before joining the Lions.
A popular figure in the Lions set-up, his decision will be watched with eagerness by Lions fans who are still celebrating their best Super Rugby season ever.
Neither De Bruin, nor Lions chief executive Rudolf Straeuli replied to messages requesting comment on De Bruin’s future.