Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Wednesday, 27 March 2024 12:14

South African rugby coaches a strong force in Top 8.

By Michael Vlismas.

The influence of South African coaches in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship is nowhere more evident than in the current log standings where they occupy positions with six of the top eight teams.

Jake White's Vodacom Bulls, John Dobson's DHL Stormers and Ivan van Rooyen's Emirates Lions are the obvious South African coaching influences in the competition.

But when you add Jacques Nienaber's role with top-of-the-table Leinster, Franco Smith as head coach of the Glasgow Warriors and Sean Everitt in the same role with Edinburgh Rugby, it's clear that more than just South African players are relishing the opportunities provided by the new North-South competition.

Everitt shared his insights into why a club such as Edinburgh Rugby in particular has become such fertile ground for South African players, and now himself as a coach.

"I said on my arrival in Scotland that my transition from South Africa to Scotland was made easier by the people around me and the Scottish welcome that I received. The Scots have been extremely hospitable and they are extremely friendly people as well so it makes it an easy transition for anyone to come and live in Edinburgh," said the former Hollywoodbets Sharks coach.

"I think it's a small rugby community and the players also have a social responsibility to the community, so they do feel part of a family when they come over. It’s a great environment to be in. Edinburgh Rugby club is also quite intimate in its size. It doesn't have the larger numbers that we do in our rugby squads in South Africa. So you tend to be a lot closer to one another which gives you that homely feeling."