Western Force Senior Assistant Coach David Wessels and Backs Coach Kevin Foote have been named as joint head coaches of the Perth Spirit for the 2014 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC).
The pair will be assisted by RugbyWA Junior Elite Coach, Dwayne Nestor, and former Wanneroo coach, Elwee Prinsloo. The appointment continues Prinsloo’s coaching progression that has already seen him mentor the State Under 16, WA Schoolboys, State Under 19, State Under 20 and Perth Gold representative sides as well as Force A.
Foote and Wessels will continue a coaching partnership that spans back to the 2009 Varsity Cup season with the University of Cape Town Ikey Tigers in South Africa. The duo helped guide the side to Varsity Cup finals in 2009 and 2010 before taking out the title in 2011.
The Spirit will operate as part of the Western Force rugby program and presents an exciting opportunity for the best of the Pindan Premier Grade to regularly play alongside quality Asteron Life Super Rugby players from the Western Force.
Wessels said the National Rugby Championship will play a role in preparing both Western Force and aspiring Pindan Premier Grade players for Super Rugby.
“This is a great opportunity to not only showcase but grow the talent that already exists in WA,” Wessels said. ”We’ve kept a close eye on the local competition and been liaising with local club coaches to identify the right players to bring into our squad.
“We’ll have a really good mix of players from the Force and Pindan Premier Grade, and knowing a lot of these local players and having seen them in action already, I know they’ll be sure to make the most of their opportunities in the competition.
“There’s still a great rugby legacy from the Perth Spirit from seven years ago [in the Australian Rugby Championship] and we’re looking forward to adding another chapter to that when the competition kicks off next month.”
Foote said the NRC represents an opportunity for players in the Pindan Premier Grade to regularly play alongside Western Force teammates.“Having grown up with the Currie Cup in South Africa, we’ve seen the benefit of a third-tier competition like this and the advantage of exposing a greater number of players to a higher level of rugby,” he said.
“It’s great to continue working with Dave, as well as Dwayne, who’s brought so many local players through the RugbyWA Academy and into the Western Force. We’re really excited to have Elwee on board, who’s taken every coaching opportunity that’s come his way at club and junior representative level, and he’s been very involved with the preparation of the squad.
“It’s really exciting to have these local guys in the squad. They’ve brought a lot of energy into the team and this is a great chance for them to challenge themselves against some of the best emerging talent in the country.”
The Spirit will play home matches in Perth at McGillivray Oval (Sunday, 31 August), Joondalup Arena (Sunday, 28 September) and Rockingham Rugby Union Club (Saturday, 4 October).
The Perth-based side will kick off its NRC campaign against the Canberra Vikings in Canberra on Saturday, 23 August.
2014 Perth Spirit Coaching Staff
Head Coaches: Kevin Foote & David Wessels
Assistant Coaches: Dwayne Nestor & Elwee Prinsloo
Manager: Dane Lazarus