Clarity the main focus for new Lions boss
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Lions will finalise their coaching structures in the next week, reveals newly-appointed head coach Ivan van Rooyen.
The sudden departure of Swys de Bruin earlier this month has certainly stunned one of South Africa’s most successful franchises.
The split ended a seven-year relationship between De Bruin and the Lions.
However, keeping with traditions, the Lions again opted to look inside their own camp for a suitable successor and they have found one in the form of Ivan van Rooyen.
The former Strength and Conditioning coach has been with the union since 2009 and his first assignment in the hot seat is far from easy.
The 37-year-old has just three months to finalize his coaching structures and prepare for their opening Super Rugby match against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on February 1.
“The first Super Rugby match against Jaguares in Argentina is a big focus point for us. It is important to get everyone ready – physically and mentally,” Van Rooyen told rugby365com
“I think getting our system and management in place very early, the more specific our preparation can be ahead of the opening match against the Jaguares.”
He added: “It’s mainly about getting clarity in our direction and our expectations.”
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To add further uncertainty around the coaching structures, it has been reported that Joey Mongalo and Bart Schoeman’s contracts have not been renewed.
While there have been suggestions Lions captain Warren Whiteley could be added to the coaching roster.
Whiteley, who has been sidelined due to long-term knee injury, has assisted the Golden Lions’ coaching staff during this year’s Currie Cup season.
When asked if Whiteley may be in talks about joining the Super Rugby staff, Van Rooyen did not deny nor confirm the claim.
“Whiteley is still focused on seeing if he can return to the field.
“During the Currie Cup we definitely used him in terms of coaching analysis – he was a big link between the coaches and players.
“But currently he is doing rebab and still learning and spending time with the coaches.”