Bulls chase Theron

Daryn Katz

As a coach, Dawie Theron attained a 100-percent win record against New Zealand. Granted, he was coaching the Junior Springboks at the time, but between 2011 and 2015 he beat New Zealand’s best juniors four times, and won the Junior World Championship in 2012.

These are significant feats. It’s worth mentioning that the coaches who have had the most decorated runs with the senior Springboks over the last two decades – Jake White and Peter De Villiers – both coached the Junior Boks and won World Cups with them.

These men shaped and developed young talents and then went on to work with those players again at the pinnacle of Bok rugby, and the value of overseeing that career journey should not be underestimated.

Now back to Theron: there is currently a vacancy for a head coach at the Bulls and he should be a top contender for the job.

Already the shortlist of possible candidates has shortened with Jimmy Stonehouse committing to the Pumas. John Dobson’s been doing impressive work with Western Province and one would hope that the powers-that-be under Table Mountain’s shadow would do what they can to retain his services. Swys De Bruin is making significant impact with the Springboks. and it’s conceivable that De Bruin is being set up to take over the Bok reins when Erasmus eventually shifts focus to his Director gig.

Theron played with Erasmus in green and gold, starting at tighthead prop with Erasmus at openside flank when the Boks finally beat the British & Irish Lions in the third Test of the 1997 tour to South Africa. There’s a history between the two men that goes back a way which should assist in maintaining good communication between franchise and national structures.

Theron also started at loosehead against the formidable Olo Brown when South Africa beat New Zealand in 1996. He knows a thing or two about front pillar play and, given the torrid time the Bulls had against Western Province in their recent Currie Cup encounter, the team could use shoring up in that department.

While heading up SA’s U20s, Theron worked closely with numerous players currently on the Bulls’ books, including Hanro Liebenberg, Ruan Steenkamp, Jan-Henning Campher, Dayan Van Der Westhuizen, Victor Sekekete, Eli Snyman, Roelof Smit, Tony Jantjies, JT Jackson, Franco Naude, Stedman Gans and Manie Libbok.

And the list grows when 2018 Boks are included, namely Handre Pollard, Jason Jenkins, RG Syman, Ivan Van Zyl, Embrose Papier, Jesse Kriel, Travis Ismaiel and Warrick Gelant.

Like many local coaches, Theron took up a post overseas to expand his horizons after his work with the U20s drew to a close, signing a deal with Japan’s Docomo Red Hurricanes. In his first year in charge there, Theron won the Top West title as well as the Top Challenge Cup without his side losing a single match.

He has the pedigree, having come through the ranks as a player, then as an assistant coach at the Cheetahs, and he was instrumental in transforming Griquas into genuine Currie Cup contenders as head coach of the Kimberly-based outfit.

Theron returned home at the end of last year. In a media release, it was stated that he had not negotiated with a local team but that he hoped his CV would put him in a position to make a contribution somewhere in South African rugby.

More should be done to retain and utilise such coaches who have been in the trenches, come through the system and succeeded. The Bulls advisory panel, which includes Erasmus, would do well to consider Theron.

FRESH TAKE is an initiative to identify, feature and develop talented rugby writers who are not yet part of the mainstream media. If that sounds like you, send us a sample of a story you’d like to write to info@alloutrugby.com

Follow Daryn @KatzDaryn

- Daryn Katz

Let's chat

  • Barry

    Agreed, he’s a good candidate, but I must say that John Dobson must be the forerunner. Provinces form is very timely.
    Fleck has another year in his contract and Province thus far have rewarded mediocrity, so I don’t see a change in tune!
    That would leave Dobson with the option of sitting in the wings at Province or taking up a SR Head Coach position – hell no race!
    There has also been media talk of two positions at the Bulls, so perhaps they have in mind to take both on board!

    • Sue

      A ship can only have one captain…don’t try and reinvent the wheel.
      Show me any champion team that had two coaches.
      I suspect the “Blou Bull kultuur” became a bit much for Mitch and he had the excuse of the strong pound; if anywhere; he might’ve worked at the Stormers or Sharks.
      Real pity though; he’s influence came through very strong during the Bulls showing in the semi’s.
      This position is made for Theron and there won’t be a culture clash.
      Achum’s razor’s choice really..

    • Arch Rautenbach

      Not to sure if Dobson would leave the Cape for Pretoria. He is a Province man through and through. Born raised and bred Province man. And very loyal to the Cape franchise. Some would have to go very wrong for him to change his allegiance.

      • Barry

        You are right Arch, it would take some leverage, but as it is in business so it is in Pro Sport – If you want to grow, you generally have to travel!

        I am not sure he would want to sit around coaching Currie Cup for ever more and when will the next Super Rugby opportunity come up? Who knows, could be a year, could be five!

        Unless Province have something tangible to offer, I suspect he will grab it with both hands!

        • Arch Rautenbach

          Yes that is true. And I’m sure if Western Province said to him he will never be anything more than Currie cup coaching for him in the unions future, he would pack up and leave. But I am pretty sure that Gert Small (Also a director and coach from the Rassie Erasmus era) can see his potential and has future plans which he has discussed with Dobson. And that would make him think twice about going to coach his arch rivals. As a coach, would you wait a year (Robbie Fleck’s contract expires next year and he is currently touring overseas trying to learn, or in my opinion job hunting) and coach your ultimate team, or bounce and go coach your arch rivals?

          • John Comyn

            Lest we forget Dobson is involved as an assistant coach for the Stormers franchise. He is given the title of “breakdown specialist”. Why they can’t just call them assistant coaches is beyond me.

  • Barry

    Off the topic, would Theron not be a better fit at the Springboks than De Bruin, who is more an attack specialist than a Head Coach? I am sure even Herman would agree. Lol.

    • Herman Schroder?

      I am impressed by Theron’s CV and for me he should be a no brainer for the Bulls at this stage. Let’s see what he can do with those woeful Bulls in SR first before giving him the Bok job. At least De Bruin has been there done that and has already made his mark at a still average Bok team imo.

      Bring Ackerman back at any cost and build a team culture with local lads by excluding the mercenaries from overseas. It won’t happen until after the WC anyway so by then the Ackers / De Bruin will be the ideal fit for a new era in Bok rugby. Add Dobson and we”ll show the AB’s how to play real rugby. And then I woke up, lol. Cheers.

  • Arch Rautenbach

    I have been saying the same thing about Theron. I could never understand why such a great coach could never find a Super Rugby team to coach. I was commenting on another page yesterday about wanting to see a short list of potential coaches that the Bulls are looking at. I even went as far as saying that if said list didn’t contain the name of Dawie Theron, then I wouldn’t even take the list seriously and won’t be expecting the Bulls to be a force any time soon. When Frans Ludeke was sacked I pushed that the Bulls hire him as coach. They went with Nollis Marias who never really achieved much at the time. When Heyneke Meyer was sacked as Springbok coach I aslo suggested that they give him the job. But they went with Allister Coetzee. Now that the Bulls are in desperate need for a quality coach (like the Springboks were after last year) will they finally listen? I really hope so.

    • Barry

      Well, I hope you chaps are right. I think he deserves a SR Head Coach opportunity, where ever it might be. Hopefully, sooner rather than later!

    • John Comyn

      Theron certainly has the credentials. There is talk they are looking at 2 head coaches which is a very bad idea. It has been proven over and over again.

      • Arch Rautenbach

        Not two head coaches. They are looking for a head coach and a director of rugby.

  • Chris Mouton

    What a well-written article! You surely make a strong case for Theron and it certainly seems as if he’s the right person for the job. Let Dobson take over the Stormers and Theron take over the Bulls. The Lions have Swys and the Sharks have Du Preez (the jury is still out on him), so then SA can be more competitive as a whole in Super Rugby. This can only be good for the national cause.

    • Arch Rautenbach

      At the Sharks I’m more excited about Dick Muir being back there. Even if it is only in an assistant role. He took the Sharks to the 2007 final at King park. This year was his first back. Watch this space.

      • Barry

        Arch, absolutely correct. I am not sure why he is not involved higher up the order in a National role quite honestly. If you just skim through his CV: Currie Cup win at Sharks, Currie Cup win at Province, Captain Province, Springbok Centre, Coach Sharks SR – reached final, Springbok Assistant Coach back line, Coach Lions SR. He also had the nous to appoint a promising Kiwi player into the coaching forum whilst at the Sharks, none other than John Plumtree! I am not sure though, that he is a great fit with Du Preeze… its kind of like the tail wagging the dog, but I hope he stays. If nothing else, the back line works!!

        • Herman Schroder?

          The backline ( at the Sharks ) works ?? Surely you jest mate. One of the poorest backlines in SR last year with the second least tries scored ( 49 ) in 16 games with that other fantastic try scoring machine the Stormers (49) the lowest of the 15 teams.

          Strangely enough teams both look set to contest the CC final only a few months later. That I think more than anything signifies just how low on the scale this watered down CC really is. Both Fleck and Du Preez should be dumped imo they are ( watered down ) CC standard at best and SR is simply a bridge too far for their limited talents. Cheers.

          • John Comyn

            I’m going to go with soup!

          • Barry

            Sharks 33 Lions 24!
            Go blow smoke elsewhere Herman!

          • Albert

            Cue excuses for Lions not making the CC final…again…despite having most of their best players available. Ref, luck, poisoned soup?

  • nezo

    TAke note Africans. this is how you look for a coach. the officials should employ Daryn Katz to hire coaches for their teams.

    A winner is always a winner. after the Great work of Erasmus, Dawie Theron must take his place. i will go as far saying Erasmus is only preparing the ground for him. he is the champion not erasmus as good as he is.

    it takes money to make money.
    it takes a champion to win championships.
    if you have been there you can go there again.

    look at the record of the Crusaders coach. that guy proves this.

    Robertson was appointed Canterbury’s head coach in 2013, when they won the Final in the Premiership Division of the ITM Cup.[3] Under his guidance, Canterbury won the competition again in 2015.

    In 2014,[4] the NZ Rugby Union appointed Robertson as head coach of the New Zealand Under-20 Rugby team, which subsequently won the 2015 World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Italy.

    In June 2016, Robertson was appointed head coach for the Crusaders for the 2017-2019 Super Rugby seasons.[6] During the 2017 season Robertson captured a Super Rugby title with a 25-17 victory over the Lions. On 4 August 2018 he achieved a second straight Super Rugby title with his Crusaders team again defeating the Lions 37-18.[7]

  • Nick

    Theron also did a fantastic job with griquas with limited resources. His ability as a coach has been demonstrated consistently for a long time now. Unlike the mercenary mitchell that just ran out on the bulls after achieving a year of factually nothing with them, and then saying he didn’t have the players, the bulls need a coach with a bit of respect for the team he coaches.

    Love the fact that mitchell is going to jones’ England like a plague bacillus, to run their defense of all things! Swak man!

  • Nick

    Well said nezo.
    Prob is most locals worship anything imported. Even if it’s damaging. Eg, mitchell and his highly paid path of destruction through the rugby world. Some even believe he ‘taught’ johann akkermann about rugby! Lol. I guess because he used to coach the all blacks. Can anyone tell me what success he has ever had beyond the all blacks?

  • nezo

    Rightly said Nick

    i wish i can solve this problem:
    “Prob is most locals worship anything imported”

    everything from overseas africans think is better. at first i thought it was a black people problem. but i have realised that its an african one. all races. how are we ever going to rise up and be giants in every area of our country if we keep believing in others instead of ourselves.

    ***when the Japanese were destroyed in war. they got up. looked among themselves and rose to were they are now.

    *** The Brazilians got together and became one and among themselves found a solution for their soccer. after that they began to dominate the world of football. now they have more world cups than all the other countries.

    i still believe that we South Africans are more blessed than we think and we should realise that and begin to dominate.

  • Herman Schroder?

    To Barry and Albert with disdain. You guys clutching at straws to chirp about a semi final where the famous Sharks reputation of choking in SR was once more plainly demonstrated is laughable. You butchered a 23-3 lead to be only 2 points ahead when Marius conveniently lost the plot in the final few minutes to give the Sharks that final scrum. Then despite being motored backwards at high speed by a rookie Lions U21 pack Marius saw fit to allow the props to pop without blowing his whistle. Home town syndrome conveniently got to him again.

    So please take pleasure in the watered down ‘Curry’ Cup final between two of the most consistent SR chokers these past few years. The rugby Gods, Marius and Egon no doubt must have decided to give the minnows something to fight over for a change,lol. Cheers.

    • Albert

      There it is, it’s the refs fault. I imagine the Lions trophy cabinet must be gathering some serious dust at the moment. Can’t even win the watered down Currie Cup despite being the best South African team. I guess we are all just so delusional that we thought winning trophies was the sign of success. But old Hermie doth prove us ignorant, it’s not about winning trophies, its about playing “expansive” rugby.

      What happened to your comment a few weeks ago that the Lions will come to life in the play-offs and the other games don’t count? Now your tune has changed and suddenly the CC isn’t even worth the mighty Lions’ effort to win it. Let’s be honest here, the Sharks should have buried the poor Lions but like you said they almost choked.

      In finishing, your disdain means nothing as clearly your comments are overly subjective and completely delusional! Clutching at straws at the Lions losing yet another Currie Cup and keeping their trophy cabinet empty? Who’s clutching now?

Comments are closed.