Who to coach Cheetahs?

With Franco Smith reportedly set to accept an offer to join Italy, the AOR team debates who should take over as Cheetahs head coach.

Tank Lanning
The obvious answer is current Maties coach Hawies Fourie, who has not only coached in Bloem before (he was the backline coach under Naka Drotske between 2007 and 2013), but also made public his desire for the job.

He has more than earned his stripes since then, having coached in Kimberley before moving to Stellenbosch in late 2015 where he took the Maties to the Varsity Cup final in 2016 and 2017, before drinking from the trophy in 2018 and this year.

Prior to that, Fourie coached Boland, while also being seconded to the Stormers as the backline coach in 2006.

A match made in heaven!

However, is this not the perfect opportunity to challenge the comfortable status quo at a union that has underperformed given the resources like Grey College and Kovsies?

And the perfect opportunity to back a black coach who has also earned his stripes?

Give Jonathan Mokuena, the man who steered Pukke to their maiden Varsity Cup title in 2016, and who doubles as the Leopards coach in the Currie Cup First Division, a shot at the next level. 

You would think that more black coaches would have been backed, yet a look through the Currie Cup coaching teams of the past five years confirms that plenty opportunities have been missed, with coaches then being lost to the system.

“The real challenge is to make sure the younger coaches who are promoted to fill the gaps are well prepared, have a proper grounding and are capable of rising to the occasion,” says SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.

An ideal opportunity for Roux and the national body to put their money where their mouth is and make sure that Mokuena gets not only the job, but the support needed to make him successful?

Zelím Nel
First off, there’s no point wringing our hands about who should replace Franco Smith if the Cheetahs are going to continue along their current course.

Franco was a great fit for the union because both are aligned in the way they think about rugby – it’s a game about scoring tries, not winning.

If that’s the goal, Free State could save a lot of time and money by just replacing Franco with whoever is currently managing Die Mystic Boer – the popular Bloemfontein watering hole.

But if the Cheetahs have rediscovered the purpose of the scoreboard and they’re tired of a trophy cabinet full of participation certificates, it’s time to rehire Kennedy Tsimba.

That’s right, the former Free State pivot was an assistant coach at Free State in 2011 before joining Rustenburg where he headed up the academy during the period that the Impalas twice won the Gold Cup in three successive finals.

He was 25 in 2000 when he stepped into the giant boots of Free State legend Jannie de Beer. Undaunted, Tsimba scored 300 of the team’s 762 points in the Currie Cup, matching a serious running game with the goal-kicking prowess of a flyhalf who hadn’t wasted a second of training time on catching and passing.

He scored 166 points in nine matches as the Cheetahs clinched the 2000 Vodacom Cup title.

In 2002, Tsimba was named Currie Cup Player of the Year after he broke De Beer’s Free State record by scoring 228 points to top the points-scorers list (a feat he matched in the Vodacom Cup).

Though plagued by injury after a switch to the Bulls in 2005, Tsimba made his comeback in 2008 where he helped the Griffons clinch the Currie Cup First Division title one year after finishing last in that competition.

Currently serving as the Director of Rugby at St Albans College in Pretoria, Tsimba has made it known he doesn’t rate the quality of the Pro 14, which is probably an indication he’ll win it in his first season. Tsimba is once again the man for the Cheetahs, if they’re serious about replacing tries with trophies.

- Big Debate

Let's chat

  • SweetAz

    I’ve heard “Peter” De Villiers may be available.

    • John Comyn

      I was thinking Herman Schroder. lol. cheers

      • Herman Schroder?

        Sorry John I’m on standby for the Lions, lol. Cheers.

      • SweetAz

        You’ve gotta watch that lol,-LOL

  • Barry

    All worthy candidates, BUT the answer is surely to subject all worthy candidates to psychometric testing, so that we put some science into our selection.

    We have just seen Swys collapse from mental stress and fatigue. Surely we need to learn from this.

  • Barry

    I wonder if Paul Treu would be interested. Make of it what you will, he has been shoved about in the WP ranks. Some love him whilst others despise him.

    A move out of the politics of WP may not be a bad thing for him. I think he has lots to offer and has bundles of international experience!

    The Cheetahs open style game plan would also not be foreign to him!

    • SweetAz

      We had guys like Treu in the Army, – at passing out parade their mommy’s used to say, ” Just look at my Paul, the only one in step”. When just about everybody doesn’t get along with a guy perhaps the fault does lie with him, the latest flare-up has him at loggerheads with the entire SuperSport Rugby Challenge team. Personally, I would be happy to see the back of him, I hope he takes Die Ellende with him. I see Alister has managed to steal SP Maarhyskak so with the 2 of them gone and perhaps we get lucky and the Snaaks buy the Du Plessis we have at flyhalf the Stormers backline will be at least 80% better.

      • Barry

        Try to have a bit of an open mind!

        You don’t like Treu, that’s not everyone! The Stormers backline looked a damn site better with Treu in than out, you must surely see that – they weren’t great last year but they were a lot better than they are this year – same chaps different coach!

        Treu has a World Cup to his credit, that’s a lot more than most have achieved, Cheetahs could do worse – more to the point, he has been tested at a higher level and excelled, whilst other candidates are an unknown quantity at Pro14 level!

        I actually rate SP, but he is a full back not a wing! If you’re looking at WP restructuring, the first on my list would be Feeney – an oxygen thief of note – always lots to say, but short on the accountability. I think you will find him at the core of the Fleck Treu drama!

        • Dean Bright

          Many good coaches who had the principal like way with players got the boot. Think Jake White (second stint at the Sharks), John Mitchell (Lions) and now Paul Treu. Jake and Paul were both former principal and teacher, coincidence? Too much player power in SA rugby. There’s another debate altogether.

          • Barry

            It’s a very good point Dean and we can add Nick Mallet to the list of teachers, who is also known for his heady approach to management! Yet two of these have World Cups to their credit and all four have had National head coach positions!

            As you say worth further discussions!

        • SweetAz

          I think your mind was too open and some of it fell out, please riddle me why the SuperSport Rugby Challenge coaching team (all people of “colour”) would have issues with him? Why did the players ask the sponsor to get rid of him? Why in one interview he claims the coaching team is united, then a little while later runs out screaming discrimination?

          The man has a Napoleon complex which is fine in sevens where you have almost total control of everything, but its unworkable in 15’s where you are part of a coaching team. SP is the fullback version of DA, he has no clue when to run and when to kick. I groan whenever he has the ball because he invariably gets isolated and a turnover or penalty occurs. He also cant kick pressure kicks for shit.

          Feeney has nothing to do with the SuperSport Rugby Challenge Coaching team. The TRUE Treu problem is that he thinks he is better than everyone else because he has a Masters degree in Sports Directorship. He really wants the TOP job.

          What World Cup has he got to his credit? I thought I knew all the rugby coaches since re-admission, I hope you aren’t talking about 7’s because we all know that’s a totally different sport,-for crying out loud it even has Kenya, Spain and the USA beating us in it.

          • Dean Bright

            Sweet. Actually, he resigned from the Kenyan job. Poor administration and player strikes due to unpaid wages. The senior players went on strike and he was forced to pick younger players. Then those senior players turned on him and said it was a betrayal. He’s a coach, he has to pick a team to play. That Kenyan team had 3 coaches in 2 years. Don’t bend facts to suit your narrative.

          • SweetAz

            How do you know I haven’t met him? I don’t know why you have such a hard-on for the guy, if he was any good unions from all over would be falling over themselves to hire him which isn’t the case. There are any number of sevens teams looking for head coaches, he got kicked out of Kenya right smart which should tell you something, everything I stated was factual, zero character assassination required.
            So tell us which one of my facts are untrue? And you can also tell us which World Cup did Paul Treu Win.

          • Barry

            Here we go again – an in-depth character assassination of someone that you have never met! Really pointless discussing issues with you because you latch onto preconceived notions, the facts of which exist only in your mind!

            By the bye, the 15’s code has lost to Japan and Italy!

  • John Comyn

    I would like to see Hawies shifted into the Stormers setup. The grapevine says Rassie is keen on him taking over The Cheetahs job and apparently Rassie is part of the decision making process. Tismba might also work. Frankly the Cheetahs have disappointed in the PRO14 and a fresh approach may be the answer. I’m going with Tsimba.

    • Barry

      Not sure I follow, Hawies is surely looking for a growth opportunity, rather than a down grade, so why would he want to move to Newlands?

      • John Comyn

        Money for one thing and exposure to Super Rugby. It could be worse! For example he could end up at The Sharks old boys club!

  • Andries

    Correction. Tshimba never won the Gold cup coaching Impala.
    Rees Edwards and Jaco Gouws won the Gold cup in 2014 as Impala coaches. Nico le Roux and Naas Olivier then replaced them.
    Tsimba spent his time @ Impala as a Development/ Junior coach

  • OldGitEd

    Time for some new brooms to reinvigorate SA rugby. Considering the local coaches just means more of the same unless they have proven otherwise with at least some quality experience and success outside SA.
    Go and find the best coach their money can buy and most certainly cast the net to include young up and coming coaches from other countries.
    Yes, they’ll struggle with the local lingo but not as much as we do trying to understand the current coaching strategies.
    Unfortunately the choice will be made at the brandy and braai meetings with little consideration for the science, professionalism and skills superiority that is so desperately needed in SA.
    This role is not “a job for the boys”. The mediocrity of the Cheetahs and the Kings in Pro14 has damaged brand Freestate and SA

    • Barry

      An interesting view.

      I have no idea how the Cheetahs are funded. I guess they will get a healthy wack from broadcasting rights, but I am not sure that they are pulling in heaps from advertising and gate money.

      My point is, just how affordable would an overseas coach be for them?

      • OldGitEd

        Sadly the addidge of “pay peanuts and get monkeys” is the reason they/we are where we are.
        It’ll take balls, proper ones, to guide the Cheetahs out of this quagmire they have created, and have been pushed into, for themselves.

  • Herman Schroder?

    People underestimate what the Cheetahs have achieved in Pro 14. Some old established teams over there battle with the strength of the competition each year. In fact the Heineken Champions Cup quarter finals this year featured 5 Pro 14 teams, two Top 14 teams and only one Gallagher Premiership team. Last year the Cheetahs actually qualified for the playoffs in the Pro 14 but they are excluded from the Heineken Cup even if they qualified.

    Although this year is not as successful remember they had a huge turn over of players from last year and still proved competitive this year losing quite a few games by very small margins. In fact I believe teams like the Stormers will battle over there especially in their away games, we all know how they love to tour, lol. Cold weather. wet fields, slippery hands, even the Sharkettes will battle to win over there imo.

    No, Franco has done well over there and the coaches mooted above have no idea what the requirements are to coach successfully over there. As usual the exception is Johan Ackerman who is doing a sterling job with Gloucester. They are practically confirmed a third spot on the table with three matches to play in the round robin.and this in his first full year coaching there. The Cheetahs need to look over there for a decent coach if they wish to improve. For heavens sake we can’t even find decent coaches here for our SR Franchises. Cheers.

    • Dean Bright

      You are delusional Herman. On a combined log the Cheetahs would be 11th out of 14 teams this year. Are you saying they’ve done well considering the strength of the league? Wow, that’s like celebrating Brighton staying in the English Premier League, albeit they are 4th from bottom. Here you go, here’s your participants medal. Maybe you should stop looking in the past and see what is happening now because that is what matters. Playoffs last year and 4th from bottom this year doesn’t = SUCCESS. They’ve progressively got worse over the course of only 2 seasons. They weren’t much better over 10 or however many seasons in Super Rugby. Time for SA rugby to bite the bullet, admit that the Cheetahs are a failed union, along with the Kings. SA rugby can’t financially, administratively or from a player point of view equip 6 competitive franchise teams. Cut it down to 4 or 5 of equal strength.

      • Herman Schroder?

        You miss the obvious point old chap, their serious player drain each year. You also ignore the small points gap between the middle of the log and the bottom dwellers. If they beat the Kings today they will end up with 46 points. With most of the mid table teams on 50 to 54 points with one to play that is only a swing on two close losses so don’t tell me they aren’t competitive. Think before you make sweeping statements with no foundation my friend.

        And don’t bring up SR. What about our perennial bottom dwellers the Stormers, Sharks and Bulls ? With all that supposed talent they have got progressively worse for years now with no end in sight judging by this years ongoing flip flops.

        Don’t knock the trail blazers they deserve our full support. Cheers.

        • Dean Bright

          Lots of huff and puff but no cigar. Mid table – well done, here’s the 11th place gold star.

          That’s the point, all the franchises are struggling due to player and coaching drain, poor administration, side-shows, and more people are ready to jump ship. Next year, Etzebeth, Lood, Akker, the du Preez brothers and so many more will in due time sign for overseas clubs.

          Here’s the only solution. https://www.alloutrugby.com/turn-rugby-exodus-revenue/

    • SweetAz

      Yeah, we noticed,-some franchises are battling so much they are even recruiting coaches in mental hospitals.

      • Herman Schroder?

        Showing your lack of class again ?? Not so Cheers.

    • Albert

      Well, over there, its quite different. Over there, they have slower fields. Over there, they have greener grass. Over there, they don’t have a Herman Schrodinger boring the hell out of everyone.

      Why don’t you just go over there?

      • Herman Schroder?

        Obviously the facts I presented were too much for you to cope with, short attention span etc. so out comes a very poor attempt at humour. Bothers me nought my friend, like water off a ducks back.Cheers.

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