Free State people are extremely polite – Coulter

The Irishman, Simon Coulter of Sligo, Connacht, has been spending time in Bloemfontein at the Toyota Cheetahs, where he has been acting as an intern fitness coach. PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK

Recently the Toyota Cheetahs coaching staff was joined by a new face, in the form of Simon Coulter from Ireland, who is acting as an interim fitness trainer.

While the Cheetahs are on a three-week tour of Ireland and Wales in the Guinness Pro14, Coulter, who hails from Sligo, Connacht, has stayed behind in Bloemfontein, where is putting the players who are not on tour through their paces.

Coulter, who previously worked with the USA Sevens team, says that to get to work the Cheetahs was an opportunity that he could not pass.

“There are two answers to that. One, I’ve always wanted to come to South Africa or Africa for that matter. The other is a bit of the long story, but the short of it is, I was working with the USA Sevens team in San Diego, California.

“When I went home, I had a visa issue getting back into America. As you know the USA is a difficult place to get into, and to cut a long story short, I decided rather than to try sort it out, I rang Chris Brown, of the USA Women’s Sevens team, and he said that I should go and get a bit more experience and try and get back into the 15-man code.

“He was in South Africa at the time, and Chris and Quintin Kruger (Cheetahs fitness coach) are friends, and he rang Quintin to ask if he wanted a guy with good experience to come and help out. So here I am.”

When asked about this experience in the City of Roses thus far, and what he will take away from his stay, there was no hesitation in saying the people.

“What have I learnt? I suppose that every team you go to has a different style, but what I will come away with mostly is my experience of South African people… Free State people.

“They are extremely polite and shake your hand every time they see you. That has been a bit of a culture change, but it is nice though.

“From a rugby perspective, Quiny does things slightly different; they all have their own little way of doing things. He has been great, he has got me involved straight away. I was supposed to come over as an intern, but I got stuck in right away, and I have my own group, so it’s kind of good that way.

“So, I’ve learnt a few bits and pieces, but my real take-home from it all will be the way South African people are. It’s been good, it’s been really good. You guys don’t mind a beer over the weekend either, so that is good as well.” – MORGAN PIEK