Bulls unveil new coach
NEWS: The Bulls have officially unveiled their new Super Rugby coach for 2019.
Pote Human will replace John Mitchell as coach of the Pretoria-based franchise.
The appointment of Human comes after months of speculation, following the decision by Mitchell to quit Loftus Versfeld and join up with England as an assistant coach to Eddie Jones.
Alan Zondagh is the other new addition, as Director of Rugby.
Zondagh, who signed a three-year deal at the Bulls, will look after the coaching structures in Pretoria.
This announcement brings to an end a tumultuous period that had a host of prominent coaches linked to the job, with of several of them turning it down.
The latest to have turned his back on the Bulls was retired Springbok lock Victor Matfield.
He opted – for family reasons and job security as an analysts at a pay-TV station – not to accept the appointment, despite applying for the position.
The Blue Bulls Company desperately attempted to convince him to change his mind, but on Monday he ‘declined’ for a second time.
Human, at Tuesday’s media briefing at Loftus Versfeld, admitted he was only informed that he got the position on Monday afternoon.
“It is a privilege and an honour, I have come a long way with the Bulls,” Human said.
“It is a huge task and I know that people will want to see results,” he added.
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The Bulls feel Human “epitomizes” everything that the franchise stands for and is the perfect blend of good values together with the passion and understanding of the modern game.
“The BBCo Board of Directors believe that Human, who acted as an assistant coach to John Mitchell during the past 12 months, will build on the momentum the Bulls as well as the Blue Bulls gained during the 2018 season,” they said in a statement, confirming the appointment.
“With some exciting new signings and good continuity, the Board are confident he will return the brand to winning ways.”
As a player, Human was a no-nonsense loose forward, one that racked up 116 games for Eastern Province, and 82 for the Free Sate, 64 of which he captained for the Bloemfontein-based side.
He started his coaching career with the South African Under-23 side in 1995 as an assistant coach, then moved to Shimlas for a five-year period – winning the National Club Champs in 2004 – before becoming an assistant coach in 2005 for the Blue Bulls Currie Cup side.
In 2006 he became assistant coach to the Super Rugby team under Heyneke Meyer, and in the same year shared the Currie Cup title with Free State Cheetahs as head coach.
He played a vital role as assistant coach with the Bulls when they won their first Super Rugby title in 2007.
Human also spent two years at the Ricoh club in Japan as forwards coach, before returning as Director of Rugby at Garsfontein High School.
He then became head coach of Griquas for a short stint, returning to Pretoria to coach Tuks to a Varsity cup title.
His role at Loftus over the last few years as Challenge Cup and Under-21 coach, Super Rugby forward coach, as well as Currie Cup coach has been immense.
Willem Strauss, Chairman of the BBCo board and President of the union, expressed his excitement at the announcement of Human’s appointment.
“Pote has proved himself at every level and has a track record that speaks for itself,”Strauss said.
“We are privileged to have men of his calibre within our system, that can step up into this role.
“He has the full support of everybody at Loftus.”
Strauss described Zondagh as a “rugby visionary”.
“With his international experience he will add immensely to the future growth of this brand,” Strauss said.
“He will also serve as a mentor to our coaches and management, and I believe that they will gain a lot from having a guy of his calibre around.
“We would like to officially welcome him to the Bulls and are looking forward to the difference he will make.”
Details regarding Human’s support staff and assistants will be announced in due course.
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