Having had the privilege to play school rugby under the coaching of Jimmy Stonehouse, it was great to catch up with him to ask him a few questions on his success with the Steval Pumas side and his view on South African and Springbok rugby.
Jimmy Stonehouse was born on the 30th March 1964 in Krugersdorp. As a player, Stonehouse played hooker for the old South Eastern Transvaal. During this time he was also a teacher at Hoërskool Ermelo between 1984 and 1997 and achieved great success coaching their first team guiding them to the Quarter Finals of the Director’s Trophy in 1992 and to the Semi-Finals of the same competition in 1993.He was also the coach of the South Eastern Transvaal’s Craven Week (Under-18) side from 1990 to 1992 and from 1994 to 1997.
Jacques – The Steval Pumas side have done amazing things in three years under your coaching, what is your secret?
Jimmy – Hard work , Discipline , motivation and a high spirit in the group and obviously contracting the right players.
Jacques – One can easily see the passion in the Pumas side when they play, how do you motivate your team week in and week out?
Jimmy – The last 3 years we create a winning attitude and with a great attitude in life everything is possible there is also a great vibe in the camp , the players know by winning they will be noticed.
Jacques – Winning the promotion relegation match last year must have been the highlight for you and the Pumas, did you ever thought your would be second on the Currie Cup log after 5 weeks?
Jimmy – Yes you must remember when we were voted out of the premiere division and it was a huge blow for me because we earned our spot by winning that promotion relegation , then it was 8 teams now we earned the spot again and it was only 6 teams , by changing it to 8 again you feel was it really worth it , although I personally agree that it must be 8 teams to develop rugby. I don’t think anybody would have given us that spot on the log but i always new we will be competitive.
Jacques – Playing as player under your coaching one knows your passion for the game, where did this passion come from and how do you keep this passion going after so many years?
Jimmy – I love coaching and my passion comes from school days where I let other working opportunities go buy to keep on coaching, to work with kids , trying to make my school teams the best they can be, and it really started when kids I coached became provincial rugby players.
Jacques – You played for the old South Eastern Transvaal, how special is to coach the this Puma team?
Jimmy – At some stage in my life I also start to think maybe I can become a Currie Cup coach , I was able to coach the Pumas Craven week team, the Bulls Craven week side as well as Russia u/19 , Russia Senior 7’s side , but unfortunately it avoided me for years and I thought it will never happen. Then Mr Hein Mentz appointed me and since then I coached a few teams and my loyalty to the Pumas is great because they gave me a chance and I live by the rule you must never forget where u come from. Coaching the team I played for is very special and knowing where we comes from makes it much greater.
Jacques – Winning the coach of the year award last year must have been special, what did that award mean to you?
Jimmy – Yes that was a great achievement and there I must say well done on my teams performance because there results on the field made me coach of the year , that was very special knowing how hard we worked and knowing that maybe there is a bigger future in rugby out there.
Jacques – What do you think is wrong with our scrumming in the Bok side? I know it was better against the Aussies and the All Blacks but it still seems to have some issues.
Jimmy – There’s nothing wrong , on the day we were not on our best and I think we underestimate the Argentinian side although I don’t agree with the Argentinian props binding on the day.
Jacques – Scrumming have a lot to do with technique and also how referees sees it, how can we fix this problem in the scrums as it is such a controversial aspect not just in test rugby but also in the Currie Cup itself.
Jimmy – Yes definitely the technique and timing is a major part of scrumming , unfortunately the referee plays a bigger role and as it is they are not always sure who the guilty one is, a lot of discipline is expected from your props to stay honest . For instants let say you Loose Head is much stronger than his opponents Tight head he have to hold back if is own Tight Head does not get the go foreword otherwise its a penalty.
Jacques – What will be your advise for Bok coach Meyer for this upcoming test against the All Blacks and Australia in South Africa?
Jimmy – Its easy when you are on the side-line to tell other coaches what to do , but, close there space down quickly as possible on defense , play territorial game and keep the possession of the ball.
Jacques – Is there an ambition to coach at a higher level for Jimmy Stonehouse?
Jimmy – Yes I would like to coach at a higher level and be part of a Super 15 team especially in South Africa , but sometimes you have to make choices for your future and if you look at the high quality of coaches in our country at the moment my chances are slim especially at Super 15 level. Although SA Rugby gave me opportunities by coaching the SA Barbarians and the SA Presidents team there are a few options on the table from overseas but my focus is now on the Pumas.
Thank you Jimmy for making the time to chat to us and good luck with you and your Puma side for the rest of the ABSA Currie Cup season.