Former Bok flyhalf Louis Koen appointed interim Springbok Women’s coach

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Published Mar 8, 2023

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Cape Town — SA Rugby high-performance manager and former Springbok flyhalf Louis Koen will coach the Springbok Women's side on their two-match European tour later this month.

He's been appointed on an interim basis with Junior Bok Women's coach Laurian Johannes-Haupt, a former Springbok herself, his assistant when they take on Canada (March 25) and Spain (April 1) in Madrid.

The team will also have a practice session against Wales.

Johannes-Haupt is the first woman to be appointed in a senior international coaching role by SA Rugby as the governing body looks to strengthen women's rugby in the hope of competing at more World Cup tournaments in the future.

Lynne Cantwell, SA Ruby's high-performance manager for women's rugby said: "We have a long-term plan for growth and we are coming off the back of a Fifteens and Sevens World Cup so we want to continue the momentum.

"We are heading on a tour next week to Europe to play two Tests. We'll play Canada who is ranked top four (in the world) and Spain, while we will also train against Wales.

"Louis is with us and we feel really confident in the strength of his leadership as interim head coach."

Cantwell confirmed that they are still running the process to appoint a permanent head coach for both the national Fifteens and Sevens sides.

Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby's Director of Rugby, said they did not want to appoint a coach in a rush just to make sure that someone is in charge but they would rather wait and sift through applicants to make sure that the right person is put in place to take the teams further.

The Springbok Women, who played at last year's World Cup in New Zealand but failed to win a game, will be looking to qualify for the tournament in 2025 again.

The Sevens side meanwhile will be looking to qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris next year. They qualified for the previous two editions in Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo but the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee did not send them.

Cantwell is hopeful this time around it's a different story if they qualify.

The two national sides will still share a player base while there are currently only 13 centrally contracted players (playing full-time).

"We have seven players that play both codes but we do want to grow our squad depth. Last year we had 19 players contracted, while we increased that (in both codes) to 30 this year.

"Although it's not separate like the men's game, we have dual-code players, but we want to grow our player depth so that those two programs can actually split.

"Currently some players will play across both codes depending on the priority of the year."

@Leighton_K

IOL Sport

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