Former Cheetahs flyhalf Kennedy Tsimba has been appointed as head coach of the Tuks Young Guns at the University of Pretoria.
Tsimba worked as a defence, kicking and skills specialist with the Tuks Varsity Cup team last year, before the competition was halted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, he has taken on the role of TuksRugby’s Young Guns head coach. It is a role that could be challenging, considering that quite a few of the U20 players had no opportunity to play rugby last year due to the pandemic. Tsimba, however, firmly believes no challenge is insurmountable.
‘I think the players must get to adapt to what it takes to play rugby at a university level,’ Tsimba told the TuksSport website. ‘When they were at school, they got to know their teammates’ strengths and weaknesses. Now it is totally different. The players basically know very little about each other.
‘My role is to win every player’s confidence so I can learn what their respective strengths are. Something that stood me in good stead was playing for the Cheetahs when Rassie Erasmus was the captain. He allowed us to express ourselves. To make decisions. Be innovative. I am going to encourage this.
‘I think it might still take a week or so before we might start to play full-contact rugby. Currently, the focus is on conditioning the players. Then we got to start to reignite their skills. See what is missing and then rectify it. Only then will we start working on possible gameplan strategies.’
Having been inspired by watching two of his mentors – Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber – guide the Springboks to the 2019 World Cup in Japan, Tsimba took a step up in his own coaching career after being appointed as director of rugby at St Alban’s College. This came after a role as assistant coach with the Cheetahs in the 2011 Super Rugby season and coaching the Rustenburg Impala.
‘I purposely chose to go from professional coaching to club rugby and then schools rugby,’ Tsimba added. ‘I wanted to work with different types of players to better understand the dynamics of rugby. It has helped me to broaden my vision as a coach.’