Matfield returns to the Bulls
It was probably the worst kept secret in rugby this year, but Victor Matfield is back at the Vodacom Bulls – this time as forwards and attack coach for the Super Rugby franchise.
Matfield, who had retired at the end of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, has served as a lineout consultant to the team this past year, while working fulltime for SuperSport.
But on Tuesday his name was the big one announced by the Bulls as they released a long list of new appointments at all levels ahead of the 2013 rugby season.
The appointments and restructuring were necessitated when Bok coach Heyneke Meyer appointed a raft of Bulls coaches – including forwards coach Johan van Graan, backline coach Ricardo Loubscher, defence coach John McFarland and conditioning coach Basil Carzils – as his support team at the Springboks, leaving the Bulls without most of their coaching team for the second part of the 2012 season.
Matfield’s value to the Bulls is massive, and the captain who led them to two Super Rugby titles is held in high regard in these parts.
“It’s great to have him on board permanently,” coach Frans Ludeke said at the announcement.
“He has been here over the last year helping with the lineouts and is a great soundboard on a number of matters. He has so much he can give back and the technical ability to make the right calls and help us develop leaders.
“I really don’t think I need to explain Victor’s value to us, over the last 10 years he has been great for the Bulls.”
While Matfield’s appointment is the big one, the Bulls also announced Derick Hougaard as part of their coaching structures, with the Loftus liefling now a kicking and skills coach with the junior players as he moves into the twilight of his career.
Hougaard will work with the junior players while he repairs a horrific Achilles injury that has seen him undergo three operations and a reconstruction, but while the flyhalf is hoping to still play for the Bulls before he officially retires, for now his role is strictly coaching.
“Derick can add massive value,” Ludeke explained. “As you know he played a Currie Cup final at 19 and he will be working hard with our junior system as well as helping juniors to cope with the pressure and fast track them to the senior side.
"His goalkicking speaks for itself. At this stage he will only be doing coaching, as his Achilles won’t allow him to play.”
Pierre Spies will continue to captain the side, with the other appointments at administrative and lower coaching levels to ensure the long-term success of the team.
Vodacom Blue Bulls Currie Cup head coach, Pine Pienaar, will be the new defence coach, while Andrè Volsteedt has been promoted as Head of Strength and Conditioning.
Nollis Marais, who coached the Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-21s to a second consecutive Absa Provincial Championship title in 2012 and won the Varsity Cup with Tukkies earlier this year, has been promoted to Vodacom Cup Head Coach and will continue with the Under-21s and Tuks in 2013.
Xander Janse van Rensburg will be the new High Performance Manager.
The promotions will see the following coaches in new roles:
Victor Matfield - Super Rugby and Currie Cup Forward and Attack Coach
Pine Pienaar - Super Rugby Defence Coach
Wessel Roux - Scrum coach (All), Forwards coach Under-19
Andrè Volsteedt - Head Coach: Strength and Conditioning
John-William Meyer - Super Rugby and Currie Cup Technical Advisor
Xander Janse van Rensburg - High Performance Manager
Nollis Marais - Vodacom Cup Head Coach, Under-21; Tuks Varsity Cup Head Coach
Denzil Frans - Vodacom Cup and Under-21 Forward Coach
David Manuel - Under-21 and Vodacom Cup Backline Coach
Shaun du Toit - Under-21 and Vodacom Cup Strength and Conditioning Coach
Divan Strydom - Under-21 and Vodacom Cup Technical Advisor
Hendrè Marnitz - Under 19 Backline Coach and Junior Defence Coach
Hayden Groepes - Under-19 Technical Advisor
Derick Hougaard - Junior Kicking and Skills Consultant
Nicki de Villiers - Nutritionist Consultant
Werner de Beer - Coordinator: Schools, Amateur Rugby and High Performance Activities
Henri-Charl Terblanche - Strength and Conditioning Coach: Under-19’s, High Performance and Schools
Dr Jannie Botha – Life Skills, Mental Coach and Counsellor