PRETORIA – There is something about the capital city and late-night appointments.
This time around it wasn’t a seismic announcement that would have rocked the economy and political scene, but it surely shook the South African rugby landscape as the unlikely candidate in Pote Human was appointed as the new Bulls head coach over the favoured son of Loftus, Victor Matfield.
There are several rumours why Matfield wasn’t unveiled as the Bulls coach, but Blue Bulls Rugby Union president Willem Strauss revealed that Matfield was seeking guarantees and job security which the Bulls could not commit themselves to.
But that was always going to be the case when it came to Matfield who would have had insecurities about his coaching abilities, having never done the job at a professional level.
There is no doubt that Matfield has a good rugby brain and that was evident in his playing days, but that was never going to automatically translate to being a good coach.
In Matfield, the Bulls would have had a man who lives and loves their brand but that would not have been enough to bring back the glory days as is so desperately needed from a coach at this moment in time.
But is Human the right man?
Well if you ask the players, there could be no other coach they would love to play for than the man from Uitenhage.
Over and above being viewed as a mentor and father figure by the players, Human is no fool when it comes to preparing and planning for success on the rugby field.
The well-travelled Human was in charge of the Bulls Super Rugby winning forward pack in 2007 and had been head coach of the Blue Bulls Currie Cup team that shared the spoils with the Free State Cheetahs in 2006.
After spending some time coaching at Hoerskool Garsfontein, turning them from a middle-of-the-road team to a powerhouse outfit, Human also coached at Griquas before returning to Pretoria to lead Tuks back to glory in the Varsity Cup.
This year, Human coached the Blue Bulls Currie Cup team to a semi-final against Western Province which they lost at the end of extra time proving that what he could do as a coach with an equally talented team.
It is all of this experience particularly at Loftus that makes Human the best-placed person to lead the team into Super Rugby next year.
And while Human, at first glance, might look like one of those yesteryear rugby players, which he is, his quiet demeanour masks a passionate rugby spirit that believes in the game being played as hard as possible but never forgetting that flair and expansive are part of the foundation to a winning side.
It may be true that the Bulls deserve a big-name coach in order to attain their lofty ambitions of becoming the kings of Super Rugby again.
But at the same time, Human might just be the perfect fit for a job that doesn’t require a rugby celebrity but rather a good old grafter whose heart and soul is in it for the game because it is rugby that will yield results for the Bulls and not just big names.@Vata_Ngobeni