JOHANNESBURG - The appointment - and announcement on Tuesday - of Swys de Bruin as head coach of the Lions will give the players the stability they need going into the Super Rugby playoffs next week, said company CEO Rudolf Straeuli on Tuesday.
The well-travelled, 57-year-old De Bruin will take over from the outgoing Johan Ackermann after the end of Super Rugby. Ackermann will leave the union to take up a position with Gloucester in the English Premiership.
De Bruin, Ackermann’s right-hand man since 2013, has been named as head coach for the Currie Cup, as well as next year’s Super Rugby competition.
“We believe it (the appointment of De Bruin) will bring continuity and stability within the different teams in the various competitions that we are taking part in,” said Straeuli on Tuesday.
De Bruin, who spent his younger years coaching at the Sharks before coaching Griquas between 1999 and 2003, said he was thankful for the opportunity. “I look forward to the challenge, but for now the focus is totally on the Super Rugby campaign.”
Other current members of the senior management team, like defence coach JP Ferreira and conditioning boss Ivan van Rooyen, are expected to stay on under De Bruin, but Ackermann’s departure means the Lions will be looking for a new forwards coach, possibly Balie Swart or Russell Winter.
Straeuli also announced on Tuesday that the majority of the current Super Rugby squad will still be available next year. However, what many of the players decide career-wise post 2018 will depend largely on who gets contracted with Saru until the World Cup in 2019.
The players who are contracted next year are:
Warren Whiteley, Kwagga Smith, Andries Coetzee, Andries Ferreira, Anthony Volminck, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Corné Fourie, Courtnall Skosan, Cyle Brink, Dillon Smit, Dylan Smith, Elton Jantjies, Franco Mostert, Harold Vorster, Howard Mnisi, Jaco Kriel, Jaco van der Walt, Jacques van Rooyen, Johannes Jonker, Justin Ackerman, Lionel Mapoe, Lourens Erasmus, Malcolm Marx, Marvin Orie, Robbie Coetzee, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Ross Cronjé, Ruan Ackermann, Ruan Combrinck, Ruan Dreyer, Shaun Reynolds, Sti Sithole and Sylvian Mahuza