Thu 15 Sep 2022 | 03:20

BlitzBoks reveal their new coaches as Powell era ends

BlitzBoks reveal their new coaches as Powell era ends
Thu 15 Sep 2022 | 03:20
BlitzBoks reveal their new coaches as Powell era ends
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NEWS: Two former World Rugby Sevens Series winners will provide the core of the newly appointed Springbok Sevens management, with Sandile Ngcobo and Philip Snyman taking the team into the 2022/23 season and beyond, following the Neil Powell coaching era.

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The 33-year-old Ngcobo – who currently heads up the SA Rugby Sevens Academy and assisted Paul Delport with the Springbok Women’s Sevens at the Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens in recent months – will continue the same coaching pathway as Powell when he takes over the BlitzBoks reins as head coach this week.

Snyman, 35, who guided Germany to their first Rugby World Cup Sevens qualification, will become his assistant coach with the recent Commonwealth Games gold medallists and runners-up in the World Rugby Sevens Series.

Both coaches bring years of experience as players. Ngcobo and Snyman were part of the squad that won consecutive World Series titles in 2017 and 2018, with Snyman captaining the BlitzBoks in both seasons. The duo then retired from the game and moved into coaching immediately.

Ngcobo, who hung up his playing boots in 2018 and then went straight into coaching as assistant at the SA Rugby Sevens Academy, was promoted to head coach at the Academy in 2021, while Snyman took up a coaching position at the SAS Sevens Academy, then assisted Uganda towards Commonwealth Games qualification before joining forces with Germany.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander congratulated the coaching staff and wished them well for the future, with their first task being the opening tournament of the 2022/23 World Rugby Sevens Series in Hong Kong on the weekend of 4-6 November.

“They have huge boots to fill, we all know that, but there are still a lot of intellectual property and experience left in the management structure of the Springbok Sevens set-up, so we do not foresee any lowering of standards or performances from the squad,” said Alexander.

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“There will be growing pains as some experienced players also move on, but the core values of the squad and management will remain strong.”

“SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, said Ngcobo’s elevation was important as it shows that the coaching pathways are sound: “To have esteemed former players swopping roles to coach the team they served for so long, is testimony of the great culture that was created over the years.

“We have seen what the BlitzBoks are capable of – they have been one of the top three sides in the world consistently over the last decade or so. That did not happen by chance, as their success was built over a long period at their base at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport.

“Both coaches were part of the well-respected BlitzBoks culture and are driven by that. They will certainly make sure the values of the system will continue to grow with the next generation of players.”

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Ngcobo said his appointment was a massive opportunity: “I cannot give enough gratitude for the confidence that has been put into me and our team to take up the baton.

“The BlitzBoks are indeed very close to the heart for all involved and our jobs will be to protect and grow the values of the badge and the brand. The work starts immediately as we have a warm-up tournament next weekend, so there is no time to sit idly and ponder.”

Ngcobo said he will sit with the rest of the management to clarify roles and responsibilities.

“I am not planning to make any drastic changes; we know what works,” he said. “The first challenge will be to look at the squad available and to start preparations for our first World Series tournament, which will be in Hong Kong early in November.”

Powell will formally leave SA Rugby’s employment this week to join up with the Sharks, where he was appointed as director of rugby earlier this season.

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