Home Q&A Q&A with Springbok Andre Snyman

Q&A with Springbok Andre Snyman



Andre Snyman was a Sharks, Blue Bulls and a Springbok player. He plied his trade in South Africa, Europe and many more areas. He left South Africa and took up a new challenge in the USA as the coach of Glendale Raptors. The Raptors compete in the Pacific Rugby Premiership and have recently won the tournament. We get to chat to Andre on his time in the US and how he has adapted and found the going there…




Benedict Chanakira Spoke to Springbok legend Andre Snyman




BC – What have you been up to since 2007?

AS – “I was in South Africa, started a business and also started to coach. I went to Denver, Colorado in 2011 and started coaching the Raptors”.

BC – Why coach in the USA?

AS – “Well for starters I was turned down so many times in South Africa and the fact there are so many recycled players who also want to be coaching it was a challenge. I decided to take an offer that came my way from an acquaintance. The game of rugby is the fastest growing sport here and decided to take up the challenge”.

BC – What league is the Pacific Rugby Premiership?

AS – “The Pacific Rugby Premiership is a mixture of the Community Cup and the Varsity Cup. We have guys who are studying at college and University in our team as well as guys who work and have jobs. So it is a good mixture of all those.”

BC – Can South Africa learn anything?

AS – “Well nothing much really, in fact the Americans can learn from the South Africans, New Zealanders, etc. who have the game as a profession. We still have the game growing and hope to get it to explode. We still in our growing phase.”

BC –  Since you have been with the Raptors for a few years now, do you have any desire to take on the mantle at the higher levels of coaching?

AS – “With the game still growing, who knows. I managed to have a stint as the US Eagles 7’s defence coach for about 6 months and now I am just getting some experience at the moment.”

BC –  What are your fondest playing moments?

AS – “It will have to be my Springbok debut, being part of the 1998 tour side which dismantled the french in the closing game of their stadium, winning that Tri Nations was also special and the 1998 Currie Cup win with the Bulls. What does stick out was the try I scored in 1997 against England.”

BC – Does Andre have any temptations as a coach now that would be derived from his playing days?

AS – “I think it would be to take my boots and get on the field and play. Hey listen, I am in my 40`s now and the body is past that stage. Its also a challenge to coach the players beyond the “now” of the game but instead looking at four or five phases ahead. It is the coaching of reading the game (defence, attack the opposition) that is key.”

BC – The US won the London Sevens and continue to make strides forward. What next for the US?

AS – ” We all talk of the sleeping giant, working hard and consistency will see him awake and challenging. Consistency is key and being able to keep the high intensity and game elevation is required. The giant will not wake up tomorrow but they are going in the right direction.”

BC –  On the proposed “Six Nations of the Americas?”

AS – “The sponsor better have lots of money. The dynamics and logistics involved in the tournament games are quite pricey. In Terms of the playing it will be good for the development and growth of the game. Exposure and experience will be gained and it’s going to be important to have the financial aspect covered which could be the biggest stumbling block considering the game is still amateur in this area.”

BC –  What is your rugby philosophy?

AS – “Run hard, play hard and enjoy the game…. Well, I want to see the guys reach the highest level. They must develop, read the game and take all their opportunities. The game must be enjoyed and players must always look to remain humble.”

BC –  The USA’ chances at the World Cup?

AS – “It will be tough for them, as they are playing sides that play three or four times more tests a year than them. They will always be able to compete for the first few minutes but it will be a challenge to keep the intensity at the desired level to maybe win. They will compete against the second tier sides and possibly win but will find it challenging against the tier one sides.”

BC –  NFL vs Rugby?

AS – ” That’s a big debate, one with different aspects in all departments. Both sports consist of great athletes and have their positives and negatives. Two great sports that have different ways to prepare their athletes. I guess the biggest difference is rugby is continuous and NFL is played over short bursts.”

BC –   Thanks Andre!

AS – “Pleasure Benedict!”

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  1. Wow what a gem BC. This guy was my hero back then. Will never forget my first time ever at Loftus, the Bulls played the Sharks. He made a centre pairing with Danie van Schalkwyk. He ran in a 50 m try that day, slicing through the men from Natal as if they were props on a training field. Always though he was the perfect 13. Hard running, bloody fast and solid as hell on defence. Think his centre buddie was Danie. Sure of the surname but not the name. Anyway always thought they should be Bok centre pairing but the inside centre dissapeared when Snyman left the Bulls.

  2. If I think of Andre Snyman I think of 1998 and England what a try……

    Here is a few of his greatest tries

    Andre Snyman – Greatest Tries

  3. @Aldo: legend! To me definitely. He is a top bloke, has been an absolute professional. Learnt quite a ton about rugby and coaching from him .

  4. Those two knee injuries he had were sad. Kept him out of the game for a bit.

  5. Yeah Craven, broke the one, came back just to break the other side. But he was a legend!

  6. Not knee as I recall but ankles!?
    Met him in France in 1998 (IIRC) when he was touring with the Bokke – very nice reserved guy!

  7. Yes Jacques… we went into halftime with a 7-6 deficit.

    The Poms were singing Swing Low and celebrating already…

    The try broke them…

    They ended up losing like 24-7… Werner Swanepoel also ended up scoring right at the end.

  8. There are certain Bok tries that are like that… ones that stick in your mind like that.

    I have a few llike that.

    1980 B&IL Gerrie Germishuyzen to win the first test 26-22

    1995 Pieter Hendriks rounding Campese

    1997 That try by Snyman

    1998 Pieter Rossouw vs the Alll Blacks in Wellington

    2005 Bryan Habana against Australia in Perth… both

    2005 Jacque Fourie vs Australia in Cape Town

    2009 Morne Steyn vs NZ away first game

    2013 Habana vs NZ

    2014 Francois Hougaard vs New Zealand in Jhb

  9. Really good centre with nice acceleration

    Joost Honiball Fleck Smyman – can’t think of a better Bok bavkline in the modern era.

  10. @cab: Fleck? Seriously Fleck? Would never put him in a modern era team… most overated git ever to accidentally walk into a Springbok jersey… only because between Harry Viljoen and Straueli neither had a clue how to select a team so Viljoen casually selected any “combination” because it was WP regardless of how well the combination operated, while Straueli selected anyone who was male and wore a rugby jersey in the the same province as a South African rugby stadium…

    I would far more likely suggest the likes of Pieter Muller, Franco Smith and Dick Muir as our best of the modern era. It was with Muller and Muir that Snyman was at his very best until he got injured in 1999 in that All Black test and broke his ankle never to properly recover again.

    In fact since them we have not had a decent inside center… maybe if Frans Steyn had learned to pass…

  11. LOVE Robby Fleck.
    He could hit holes & make space like Black Beard wielded a cutlass.
    You’d think the Stormers backline would show just a sniff of that but nooooooooo sirrr-eeee Bub.

  12. DavidS you should listen to Americano – this man knows attacking talent.

    Fleck’s problem was the tough-guy attitude which he developed and was bollocks, but the SA best centre since Danie Gerber at taking a gap. Fleck and Snyman together were a frightening combination. Snyman was a pure athlete at outside centre and combined with Fleck’s creativity it was one of the great centre combinations – they shouldve played more together.

  13. Pieter muller was seriously no-nonsense tough defensive centre. One of my favourites. De Wet Barry pretty similar. Muir was the best passer and reader of the game the Boks have had, but he didnt have the pure athletic talents of the others. Joubert was a great finisher with pace.

    My vote goes to Fleck & Snyman. This combination would seriously make the opposition crap off. With Honiball at flyhalf and joost at scrummy – could it get any better??

  14. Bunny –
    I know Dewet Barry ain’t no attacking legend….but I really liked him anyway.
    I think he was the A-10 warthog of backline players!

  15. The Bok try that gave me the most pleasure was Ricky January’s chip and chase for the win in NZ 2008.

    The Best 12’s post isolation Hennie Le Roux, Muir and Jean de Villiers

  16. That was Piet Helium’s test at the old House of Pain stadium…

    Now if only the Boks can win in Brisbane we’ll have the full house…

  17. Very much after the fact, but great interview – thanks BC and André!

    While out in Chicago after the NZ vs USA game last Nov, a guy from Denver poked fun with me because I was wearing a Springbok jersey. He told me André Snyman (took a while to realize who he was talking about…”Aandray Snaaimin”…sorry Americano!) was coaching a club team over there, didn’t even know it before. Sorry to hear he was snubbed in SA, hope he can make a success with the team out there.

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