Wessels packs brains in the SA Rugby set-up

DAVE Wessels when he was head coach of the Western Force. | www.westernforce.com.au

DAVE Wessels when he was head coach of the Western Force. | www.westernforce.com.au

Published Mar 17, 2024


DAVE Wessels has a Masters degree in IT and was the youngest-ever Super Rugby coach. Now he will turn his considerable talents to strengthening South African rugby as the general manager for high performance rugby at SA Rugby.

He is a bright fellow and it is good to have him back in the country after he spent a decade coaching Super Rugby sides in the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels.

Wessels, 41, returned to South Africa in 2022 to take up the role of head of rugby at the Stormers/Western Province, but Rassie Erasmus wants him in the greater Springbok fold.

The appointment continues the repurposing of the rugby department of SA Rugby, which began with the appointment of Erasmus as head coach while his previous position of director of rugby has been mothballed.

Simultaneously, the role of GM: Rugby has been discontinued and the incumbent, Charles Wessels (no relation to Dave), will focus entirely on Springbok affairs.

“We are undertaking a review of all rugby activities and ensuring the structure is best purposed to meet the needs of our national teams,” said Rian Oberholzer, CEO of SA Rugby.

“These changes begin the process of providing better support for all our national teams and further changes are being considered.

“The appointment of Dave Wessels achieves two objectives – it allows Rassie and Charles Wessels to focus solely on the national team while creating a resource that can provide greater direction and support to our other national teams.

“In particular it will allow for greater emphasis on the strategic needs and future plans of our sevens, women’s and junior national teams whose requirements will now receive singular attention.”

Wessels comes with an impressive rugby pedigree since moving into coaching in 2008 after a successful career in website development.

He first worked as a consultant with Western Province/Stormers, graduating to spells as an assistant coach with UCT and the ACT Brumbies in Australia, before taking over as head coach of the Western Force (the youngest ever Super Rugby coach) and subsequently the Melbourne Rebels.

Wessels said: “Rassie gave me my first real job in rugby back in 2008 and I know what a good environment he runs. Being part of a world-leading organisation such as SA Rugby is a privilege.

“The needs of high-performance environments are always changing, and my job will be to offer support and create systems that will ensure sustained success for South Africa’s teams into the future.

“This is a big challenge, and I hope the experiences I’ve had in various roles both here and overseas for the past decade and a half will be beneficial.

“I’m also very grateful to the Stormers. It’s been wonderful to be a part of the team over the last few years and I wish the guys all the best.”