The Southern Kings have been a revelation this year under head coach Deon Davids with his team sitting on the same log points (19) as the leading Aussie team, the Brumbies, writes Jacques Nortier
Davids was appointed as head coach last year by SARU after the Kings made a return to Super Rugby.
His appointment was something Rassie Erasmus fought long and hard for and it was clear that Davids was someone Erasmus thought highly of and rates as a Super Rugby coach.
Not many at SA Rugby had the same belief in Davids as Erasmus did and after two seasons he has hopefully proven that he was the right man for the job.
Davids, a former loose forward spent most of his playing days in the Boland Super League where he also had his first taste of coaching for Worcester Villagers guiding them to the Boland Super League B title in 1998.
He also guided Boland College to a title in 2002 before he was appointed assistant coach for the Boland Cavaliers.
With Davids coaching the forwards, Boland won the First Division in 2003 and 2004 and the Vodacom Shield in 2004. In 2006 Davids became the head coach of the Vodacom Cup side and remained the assistant coach for the Currie Cup side.
He assisted Chester Williams in coaching the Emerging Springboks side to victory in the 2008 IRB Nations Cup in Romania and assisted Eric Saul’s with the SA U20 team that finished third in the 2008 IRB Junior World Championship.
Davids left Boland to coach UWC as they finished third in their first ever Varsity Shield competition. Davids then became the head coach for the Lions U21 and the Vodacom Cup sides in 2012.
At the end of 2012 he returned to the Western Cape to coach the SWD Eagles as head coach for their academy and U21 sides and assisted the first team until 2015 when he was appointed the head coach before SARU announced that he will take charge of the Southern Kings side.
What is nice to see is that Davids is one of those coaches that have done the hard yards in his coaching career. The massive turnaround he and his team have had with the Kings in less than two years speaks volumes of him as a coach at this level.
It seems that quality coaches are hard to come by in South Africa these days but when you see coaches like Davids you start to wonder why was it only Erasmus that saw his potential.
It was said that the Southern Kings were the best conditioned side from all the South African franchise pre-season and now it is clear to see why.
Transformation is one of the most important aspect of our game today and its survival in a professional environment depends on our success in this process. With that said it does not comfort me that Davids is the only coach of color in Super Rugby at the moment and will most probably be without a Super Rugby team by the end of the season.
It looks likely that he will return to SWD and coach at First Division level after this years Super Rugby.
It is worrying when a top franchise like the Bulls struggle in Super Rugby and when they start talking of a new coach we hear names like Heyneke Meyer and John Mitchell in the newspapers.
One can just imagine what a coach like Davids can achieve with the quality of players a franchise like the Bulls have and the money to back it.
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