SARU confirms appointment of Academy staff

Dec 14 • National, South Africa, Varsity & Club • 3201 Views • Comments Off on SARU confirms appointment of Academy staff

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Springbok Support in photo by Bertram Malgas

The South African Rugby Union on Friday confirmed the appointment of the managers and coaches to run four SARU Academies in a ground-breaking initiative funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF).

Former Springbok prop Robbie Kempson as well as former Absa Currie Cup coaches Deon Davids and Johann Lerm are among the staff named to manage the academies in Boland, South Western Districts, Eastern Province and Border.

The Academy managers and head coaches in each province have been involved in setting up the centres across the Cape. The project has received funding in its first year of R35m from the NTDTF.

The Academies are designed to develop more black and coloured Vodacom Super Rugby and, potentially, Springbok players.

“The Academies are planned to capitalise on scientific research, which shows that rugby talent can first be identified with confidence at 15 years of age,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU. “We will identify the best young under-15 to under-18 schoolboy black talent in both traditional and non-traditional rugby schools and accelerate their development with specialist coaching and interventions, while fitting in with their school programme.

“A full time residential academy system will be established in parallel for the best local under-19 to under-21 talent, with a full time staff of seven at each academy providing coaching, education, medical and mentoring support. The majority of the players in the Academies will be black and coloured players.”

The Appointments are:


  • Academy Manager – Barry McDonald

Barry is a former SA Schools, SA Under-19, Under-21 and Free State player and cut his coaching teeth at Maties, where he was involved with numerous University of Stellenbosch sides. He coached the Under-19s and Maties Sevens team and was manager of SA Students Sevens team in 2012.

  • Academy Head Coach – Stanley Raubenheimer

Stanley Raubenheimer represented South Africa in Sevens rugby, the Northern Bulls in Vodacom Super Rugby and Boland, Mpumalanga and Western Province in the Absa Currie Cup competitions as a player. His coaching career started at Tygerberg Rugby Club in Western Province, but he soon moved into the provincial structures where he coached at Griffons, Western Province, Border Bulldogs and the Valke, with his last appointment that of Varsity Cup head coach to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.


  • Academy Manager – Zingi Hela

Zingi is a former technical advisor and manager at Cape Town-based SK Walmers, he was appointed Manager: Amateur Rugby and Development at Griquas in 2010. He also acted as tournament director of the Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week in 2011.

  • Academy Head Coach – JP Immelman

At the time of his appointment JP was manager of Border Rugby Academy and assistant coach for the Border Bulldogs Vodacom Cup team. He joined the union from the KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union where he ran the Zululand Rugby Academy. Earlier coaching experiences includes being head coach of Majuba Residence at Stellenbosch and Under-16 coach for Oxfordshire.

Eastern Province

  • Academy Manager – Robbie Kempson

Robbie played 37 tests for the Springboks before moving into coaching. He started at UCT where he was assistant coach and scrum consultant. This lead to him being appointed forwards coach for the 2009 Southern Kings team that played the British and Irish Lions. In 2010 he became forwards and scrum coach of the EP Kings and, since 2011, has headed the EP Kings Academy. He is also a regular rugby commentator and analyst for SuperSport.

  • Academy Head Coach – To be confirmed

South Western District

  • Academy Manager – Johann Lerm

Johann has been coaching at senior provincial level since 2002 when he took charge of the SWD Eagles in the Vodacom Cup and Absa Currie Cup competitions. He returned to Cape Town to again coach club side Hamiltons in the Western Province league in 2007 and 2008 before moving back to George in 2009, where he took charge of the senior side for a second stint.

  • Academy Head Coach – Deon Davids

Deon has coached at various levels since his breakthrough year in 2002, when he coached Boland A in the SA Cup and was also named SA Students coach. He was then appointed Vodacom Cup and Absa Currie Cup coach for the Boland Kavaliers in 2003.  At national level he was involved with the African Leopards (2005), SA Emerging to the IRB Nations Cup in 2009 and assistant coach for the South African Under-20s in the same year. His most recent appointment was that of Vodacom Cup coach of the MTN Golden Lions.

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