Sep 29, 2020

Coaches Corner with Ofentse Moeng

Tendai Beast Mtawarira, Ofentse Moeng and Siya Kolisi.

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1.  What school did you attend Ofentse?

I attended Uitsig Primary then Sutherland High School in Centurion, Pretoria.

2.  Tell us more about your Family Life.

I am one of 3 boys (Middle child) in my family. My younger brother is 30 and my older brother is 39. I am not married yet or have any kids but I am in a serious relationship with the intention of marriage. All my immediate family members stay in Gauteng so we are very fortunate.

3.  Which Rugby team do you support?

I am an avid Blue Bulls supporter – it’s the only franchise team I have ever and will ever support – it’s in my blood, I was born and bred in Pretoria. And then I am obviously extremely passionate about the Springboks.

4.  Who is your favourite coach?

Rassie Erasmus seems like an obvious choice especially after winning the World Cup in such a emphatic manner but I do also follow John Plumtree, Heyneke Meyer, Jake White, Scott Robinson, Ronan O Gara, Steve Hansen, Swys De Bruin, Warren Gatland and Eddie Jones.

5.  What is your current role at HeronBridge College? 

I am the Head of Sport Development since January 2020.

6.  How do you keep a balance between developing Rugby and developing other sports at HeronBridge College? 

I have a deep passion for rugby and that is no secret. But a big part of that is the development of players, coaches and self-sufficient structures. I love the challenge of starting projects from scratch or putting structures in place to improve existing projects to a higher level. I use the knowledge gained from my experience working for/with the various organizations which include – Department of Sports and Recreation SA, SA RUGBY, Gauteng Academy of Sport and the Blue Bulls Rugby Union – and try to apply the similar principles to similar situations at the college. Rugby development has become as much a hobby as it is work so it is safe to say it has become a part of me.

7.  You coached the Blue Bulls Craven Week team that played in the 2019 unofficial finals, tell us about that experience.

It was the best coaching experience of my career – we had an incredible coaching staff led by a very capable Jaco Koch which made the experience unbelievable. I had a lot of experience (4 years) in the role of team Manager for the Bulls Craven Week as well as the SA Schools team for 3 years so I had to be patient and earn my stripes while waiting for my opportunity. What many people do not realize is how much I was able to learn from all the different coaches I was exposed to while I was a Manager, so I learnt continuously without the pressure of being in the hot seat. When I finally got my opportunity to coach the Academy Week XV in 2018 with Ryno vd Merwe it was the perfect preparation for the Craven Week the following year.  In the last 2 years we played 9 games, lost 3 (1 being the 2019 CW final) and won 6 at Provincial level. Not a bad start but I still have so much to learn.

8.  You were an SA Schools-A team manager in 2019, how challenging was that role? 

Being a Craven week manager does not prepare you for national service. It is extremely demanding being the Manger to the national team. You need to be well prepared for early mornings, long days and late nights for the entire campaign (two and half weeks). Rest days for the squad and coaches does not apply to you because you are in charge of the daily program along with all other logistics, venue bookings, transportation, meal requirements, liaising with media, medical staff and SA Rugby. The SA schools teams get 3 days to prepare for a test mat h against teams who have played an entire 6 nations tournament and have had their own training camp. So needless to. Say it is a high pressure working environment with almost no margin for error. I am fortunate to have had the experience from previous years so I have become accustomed to it already – it is such a pleasure to serve the game and my country.

9.  Are you still involved in SA Rugby? What role do you play? 

Yes – not as a team Manger anymore. As part of the South African Schools Rugby Association executive member – my portfolio is with the collaborative projects between SA RUGBY and Sports and Recreation SA amongst other various duties which include both development and high performance programs.

10.  There are talks about launching Rugby League in the country, what are your thoughts regarding that? 

Rugby League is existing in the country and is currently undergoing somewhat of a revival. They are now officially an associate member of SA Rugby and there is a drive to improve the status of the sport in the country. We recently held a high performance camp for the national training squad from the 6th to 8th March at the University of Pretoria as the first step in preparation for the MEA Cup that will take place in October at Tuks against Lebanon and Nigeria. I am fortunate to have been included in the management team for the tournament and we are all looking forward to making the country proud.