Johannesburg - A third South African coach is done with Japanese rugby.
Dawie Theron has informed his club team Docomo Red Hurricanes that he will not be available for a third year.
He will return to South Africa at the end of this season, just like Pieter Rossouw of Toshiba Brave Lupus, who went to Paarl Gymnasium, and Jimmy Stonehouse of Toshiba Brave Lupus, who went to the Pumas.
“In the beginning, I was offered a three-year contract, but as a family we decided to make it a two-year project,” said Theron to City Press’ sister publication Rapport.
“I told my Japanese agent that I would not stay on another year. It was confirmed earlier this week. After two years, it’s time for things to go back to normal. We miss South Africa and are looking forward to coming back.”
The former Junior Boks coach, who managed to obtain a win record of 100% in four tests against New Zealand’s Baby Blacks and won the junior world title in 2012, has not negotiated with a local team yet.
But he hopes that his CV will put him in a position to make a contribution somewhere in South African rugby.
In his first season at Docomo, Theron won the Top West title as well as the Top Challenge cup without losing a single match.
But his team achieved mixed success this year.
One reason was the large number of injuries Docomo had to contend with.
Springbok captain Warren Whitely, for instance, has not been able to play due to a hip injury.
Another Springbok loose forward, who will join English club team Northampton Saints next year, has only played in three matches.
Lions lock Lourens Erasmus played in two matches, and former Bulls fullback Jurgen Visser also missed more than half of Docomo’s games.
Theron has to have been aware, even before the season began, that at least five of his first choice players would be out because of injuries.
According to Docomo’s medical team, this is the most injuries they have had to deal with so far.
“At one point, we had to use a prop as a hooker, just so that we could play,” said Theron.
“My idea was to do the same thing Jake White did at Toyota Verblitz. I wanted to make the group stronger, just like Jake, who changed 18 players this season. But at Docomo, they follow an industrial league approach and not a high-performance approach.
“As a coach, you get a group of players who you have to coach.”
Theron, who represented the Boks in 13 tests, hopes his team will at least manage to finish in ninth place on the log of the Japanese Top League. If that happens, it will only be the second time that Docomo manages to play in the Top League for two consecutive seasons.
“Japan was an incredible experience. It was definitely worth it. As a family, we saw and learnt a lot and travelled,” Theron said.
It is not certain what Theron’s South African defensive coach André Tredoux is planning to do. Tredoux did good work at the Cheetahs and Pukke before Theron asked him to join him in Japan.