Springboks Francois Hougaard, Flip van der Merwe, Jan Serfontein and Bjorn Basson coached more than 170 schoolboys and 50 school and club coaches during a coaching session in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape last Thursday.
The national players gave back some of their knowledge to the local rugby community on day two of the SARU High Performance Coaching Symposium in the rural Eastern Cape.
They were assisted by Springbok assistant coaches, Johann van Graan, Ricardo Loubscher and John McFarland. The Springboks demonstrated to the local coaches how to master the basic technical techniques in areas such as tackling, scrumming, lineout play and the breakdown.
It was the second visit to the Eastern Cape by the Springboks as part of the Footprint Programme which SARU and the Eastern Cape Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts & Culture launched in July in Mthatha.
Through the Footprint Programme, SARU aims to deliver the latest rugby coaching techniques and skills to all corners of South Africa.
The Eastern Cape Sports Department is also assisting SARU to prepare the Springbok Women’s Sevens squad to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. This assistance includes scientific support, fitness and conditioning training.
Rassie Erasmus, the SARU General Manager for High Performance, got the two-day symposium underway the previous day when he addresses the eager local schools and club coaches on the proper tackling and breakdown techniques.
During the practical session on Thursday, the Springbok players and coaching staff demonstrated those techniques to the learners and coaches at a community field, with a happy local crowd following every move on the field.
Afterwards lock Flip van der Merwe said he and his team mates enjoyed the session as much as the schoolboys and the coaches.
“This is a great initiative and it is wonderful to see eagerness amongst the kids and their coaches to learn,” said Van der Merwe. “We seldom get the chance to visit areas such as Queenstown and the reception we got from the local community and kids was amazing.”