We take a look at the coaches in charge of the Varsity Cup teams for 2015.
Kevin Musikanth – FNB UCT Ikey Tigers
Varsity Cup experience: 2014 (winners)
Other experience: WP amateurs, False Bay RFC WP Super League, Wynberg Boys High School director of rugby
Musikanth enjoyed immediate success in his debut season with the FNB Ikey Tigers as he coached the side to their second FNB Varsity Cup title
Robert Du Preez – FNB NWU Pukke
Varsity Cup experience: 2014 (2nd)
Other experience: College Rovers (2011-13)
2014 was a milestone year for Du Preez and NWU-Pukke, as he guided the Potchefstroom students to their first-ever home final after topping the table.
In his playing days, Du Preez represented the Springboks on seven occasions between 1992 and 1993 and was the scrumhalf to two of South Africa’s legendary flyhalves, Naas Botha (at Northern Transvaal, now Blue Bulls) and Joel Stransky (at Natal).
Chris Rossouw – FNB Maties
Varsity Cup experience: 2013 (2nd), 2014 (semifinal)
Other experience: Paarl Gimnasium (2010), Victorians (2011), SA Students (2013)
Returning for his third stint with the FNB Maties, Rossouw will be looking to take the institution back to the glory days which saw them claim a hat trick of titles between 2008 and 2010.
David Maidza – FNB NMMU Madibaz
Varsity Cup experience: 2014 (semifinal)
Other experience: Border Bulldogs (2001, 2008-2009), Free State Cheetahs (2003-2007), EP Kings (2010-2013)
Maidza’s coaching career started in 2001, after his playing career ended, when he became a technical adviser to the Border Bulldogs. He then moved to Bloemfontein to take up an assistant coach position at the Cheetahs from 2003 to 2007 before returning to the Bulldogs as their head coach in 2008 and 2009.
Franco Smith – FNB Shimlas
Varsity Cup experience: None
Other experience: Free State Cheetahs (2005-2006), Benetton Treviso (2007-2013)
He may be the only newcomer to the Varsity Cup fraternity but Smith has a wealth of experience, not only as a coach but also as a player. His coaching career started in 2005 when he was the technical advisor for the Free State Cheetahs before becoming their backline coach on 2006. Smith then went to Italy where he was the head coach of Benetton Treviso between 2007 and 2013.
Pote Human – FNB UP Tuks
Varsity Cup experience: 2014 (6th)
Other experience: Blue Bulls (2005-06), Bulls forwards coach (2005-08), Griquas (2012-13)
Human inherited double-defending champions from Nollis Marais but was unable to guide them to a hat trick of titles, finishing in a lowly sixth place. Human has a wealth of experience, previously coaching the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup (2005-06) and being their Super Rugby forwards coach (2005-08) before heading to Kimberley to coach Griquas for two years (2012-13).
Werner Janse van Rensburg – FNB UJ
Varsity Cup experience: 2014 (7th)
Other experience: UJ Under-19, Golden Lions Academy Week, Golden Lions Schools U19, Golden Lions Craven Week
Janse van Rensburg could not have asked for a worse start to his Varsity Cup career as UJ ended seventh on the log and narrowly escaped relegation to the Varsity Shield by beating UKZN-Ipmi, who are coached by former All Black and Golden Lions coach John Mitchell.
He started his coaching career at the tender age of 21 when he was in charge of the university’s Under-19B side and also coached a number of other UJ sides, along with some representative age-group teams.
Andre ‘Skillie’ Bester – FNB CUT Ixias
Varsity Cup experience: None
Other experience: UFS-Kovsies (12 years), Free State Craven Week (2004-05), Wannaroo (2006-08), Varsity Shield (2014 winners)
In his first year of coaching FNB CUT Ixias, Bester not only guided them to their third Varsity Shield title but also got them promoted to the 2015 Varsity Cup competition.
Skillie, as he better known, began as the manager of the team in 2011 and watched the team claim two Shield titles in 2011 and 2013 as well as finishing runners up in 2012 before taking over as coach.
Bester will be joined by former Free State Cheetahs lock, Izak van der Westerhuisen who will be the forwards’ coach.