Jimmy Stonehouse, the 2007 Blue Bulls Craven Week coach, has been appointed as head coach of the Pumas with immediate effect. His appointment comes after a lengthy selection process conducted by the Pumas Rugby Union’s transitional committee.
Stonehouse will take over from the former Blue Bulls Currie Cup and Super 10 coach Chris Buitendach, who has been assisting the Pumas since Chester Williams last year left the union halfway through the season for personal reasons. Buitendach will stay on until the end of January in a ‘transitional’ capacity.
Stonehouse, who is currently the first team coach at Pretoria Harlequins, has an impressive coaching record, including that as Russia’s Under-19 and also as their national Sevens coach. He coached at Hoerskool Waterkloof and Hoerskool Ermelo, and also coached the Craven Week team of South-Eastern Transvaal.
The Pumas have their trials on Monday night – and it would come as no surprise if Stonehouse invites a number of Carlton Cup players from Pretoria to the trials.
His influence as a senior schools coach could also stand the Pumas in good stead over the next year or two.
Apie Human and Jannie Joubert have been appointed team manager and conditioning coach respectively.
The Pumas play Russia in a tour match on February 6, with their first Vodacom Cup encounter against the Natal Wildebeest in Durban on February 23.