Ixias appoint former Bok

Braam van Straaten PHOTO: GALLO

The Central University of Technology Ixias can breathe a sigh of relief after managing to find a suitable replacement for Pieter Bergh as their head coach.

The rugby club and tertiary institution have appointed the former Springbok flyhalf, Braam van Straaten, as their new head coach.

This comes after Bergh accepted an offer to return to Kimberley as head coach of the Tafel Lager Griquas. Bergh, who previously served as an assistant to both Peter Engeldow and Brent Janse van Rensburg, takes up the role left vacant by the departure of Scott Mathie, who in turn has joined the New England Freejacks in the USA.

Bergh has certainly left a pair of big shoes to be filled at the Ixias, and Van Straaten is more than capable of doing the job. More known as a kicking coach, Van Straaten’s coaching CV is just as impressive as that of when he was a player. As a player, Van Straaten represented the Bulls and Stormers, while he also played in 21 Tests for South Africa. As a coach, Van Straaten also has an impressive CV and he has previously worked with the Sharks, Southern Kings, Western Force and the Wallabies, Namibia and Bermuda.

Van Straaten realises that a good foundation has been laid for him at the Ixias and he wants to make use of what is already in place.

“They laid a very good foundation and they created a very good culture at the club. It is wonderful. One wants to make sure that one can take it to the next level with what has already been established.”

The vice-chairman of CUT Rugby, André Pawson, confirmed that the former Springbok backline general will be their new coach.

“We are super excited having Braam van Straaten at the steer of our rugby on campus. He is an excellent coach with a superb track record as general, defense and kicking coach, from provincial to international level. We are confident that Van Straaten will continue taking the CUT to even higher heights than we enjoyed over the last five years.”

The appointment in Van Straaten’s technical team is in the process of being finalised and will be named in due course.

Van Straaten has initially signed a one-year contract at the Ixias, with an option to extend. – MORGAN PIEK