Pumas CEO Pieter Burger has confirmed the arrival of Jimmy Stonehouse as director of rugby, and the departure of forwards coach CJ van der Linde for financial reasons.
Former Springbok prop Van der Linde’s contract was not renewed at the end of last year. Speaking to Netwerk24, Burger said that the union could no longer afford to hold on to Van der Linde’s services.
The Pumas boss did confirm the return of former Pumas coach Stonehouse to the union next month as director of rugby, and that that Brent Janse van Rensburg will remain the head coach, with MJ Mentz stays on as assistant coach.
The 53-year-old Stonehouse was head coach of the Pumas between 2008 and 2015, before leaving to coach the Toshiba Brave Lupus club in Japan.
Stonehouse will be at the forefront of the Pumas’ strategic plans for the future.
Despite the Pumas receiving franchise status last December, Burger predicted a tough year financially.
“Yes, we have franchise status, but the reality of the fact is that this year we’ll earn 40% less through broadcast rights than 18 months ago. What can I offer sponsors? A little bit of exposure in the SuperSport Challenge and a single round of the Currie Cup.”
Reports that the Pumas could play Europe’s Anglo-Welsh Cup, a knock-out competition featuring the 12 English Premiership clubs and the four Welsh regions, seem premature, instead only likely to happen in 2019.
“Things will get better from next year once we start earning income from broadcast rights,” Burger added.