SA Rugby secures services of talented young Lions coach

Bafana Nhleko (Gallo)
Bafana Nhleko (Gallo)

Cape Town - SA Rugby U21 Championship-winning Golden Lions coach, Bafana Nhleko, will join SA Rugby’s coaching ranks on a long-term basis.

From Thursday, November 1, Nhleko will begin his role as the Junior Springbok assistant coach after signing a four-year contract, SA Rugby announced on Monday. 

The 35-year-old Nhleko, who has been in the Golden Lions’ coaching structures since 2011, took up the role as the Junior Springbok assistant coach earlier this year, in a dual role with the Golden Lions Rugby Union, and he played a key role in steering the team to the bronze medal in the south of France. 

Nhleko capped off a successful coaching track record at the Golden Lions this past weekend with an emphatic 58-24 victory against the Blue Bulls in the SA Rugby U21 Championship final at Newlands. It was their second victory in three seasons, after Nhleko steered the team to victory in his debut season in the role in 2016.    

He also guided the union’s SuperSport Rugby Challenge team to the semi-finals last year, and the Golden Lions U19 team to the final in 2013. 

Nhleko was also the union’s head coach in the Currie Cup qualifiers in 2016.  

Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, was delighted to acquire Nhleko’s services on a long-term basis. 

“Bafana is a quality coach, who is respected by his peers and the players, and we are pleased that he has joined SA Rugby’s coaching ranks,” said Erasmus.

“His success at the Golden Lions shows the calibre of coach he is, and we believe he will add immense value to our junior coaching structures. 

“The Junior Springboks’ results in the World Rugby U20 Championship served as testament to the formidable coaching team he formed with head coach Chean Roux, and we look forward to seeing them work closely together once again in the lead-up to the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina.”  

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