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Back You are here: Home Sports Rugby Kwa Zulu Natal Glenwood Coach Ranked Amongst The Best!
Sunday, 06 December 2009 23:09

Glenwood Coach Ranked Amongst The Best!

"I learnt teaching from the teachers. I learnt golf from golfers. I learnt how to win at rugby from the coach" Glenwood Old Boy.       It is often said that if a team is winning look no further than the coach to find the reason for the team's success. In school rugby the country has amongst its top performing team's rugby coaches who have dedicated hours, weeks and months each year in order to coach boys the basics of the sport and to groom the best to go further in the game.

Perhaps South Africa's greatest rugby coach Jake White, who cemented his name in the history of the great game when, despite taking on 'the toughest job in rugby' led the Springboks to a historical victory at the World Cup in 2007. It is well chronicled that the foundation of Jake White's success as a coach can be traced all the way back to his days as a schoolboy coach at Jeppe High School for Boys. Within 14 tumultuous years Jake White went from schoolboy coach to RWC winning coach and changed forever the perception that one needs to have played as a Springbok to coach a Springbok

"We have fantastic schools players, but we also have very talented  schools coaches"

Dedicated to bringing to the fore the countries best coaches the Jake White's Winning Ways Coaching Course was launched in an attempt to expose coaches to all of the training and coaching material used by the Springboks whilst they were coached by Jake White. As Jake White says; ""I was a schoolmaster and I coached against some brilliant schools coaches who, if given the right exposure and opportunities, could well have a professional career in coaching. This course is the first step to giving them an opportunity to learn but to also show off their talent, but more than that it will add a further dimension to schools rugby overall and entrench South Africa as the best schoolboy rugby nation. We have fantastic schools players, but we also have very talented schools coaches."

350 of South Africa's most promising coaches, including Currie Cup and Premier Club coaches attended the course and once the dust had settled and the course was finally over one coach stood out as 'the number one rated coach' and course winner - Glenwood High's Head Coach Sean Erasmus.

"Glenwood identified my talent from early on and they have been very good to me"

"I have always wanted to be a professional coach one day and the whole course was just an incredible experience. Everything about the Springboks was available to look at and we could call up all the stats, how they prepared and their training videos. As a young coach I was given a huge insight into how to do things and what was needed. It was awesome," says Sean. Starting out on his coaching career in Eskort in 1997 straight out of school, Sean Erasmus found himself in an occupation that he realized was going to help him fulfill his goal of one day being a professional in rugby. Moving to Grosvenor High School in Durban he had two very successful years with one of the provinces weaker rugby schools beating opposition that hadn't been beaten in nearly two decades. Still playing professional rugby for Harlequins Sean was suddenly faced with a decision that would see him embrace his role as coach even more passionately when he suffered a career threatening neck and back injury that required surgery if he chose to continue as a player. His attention shifted to applying himself to the goal of becoming a professional rugby coach.

Success followed quickly as Sean got involved in the KZRU set up, getting jobs as Assistant Coach of Premier Club side Harlequins and several other junior club coaching positions. Spending a year at Westville Boy's High coaching the U14 A and 'B''s where he had great success he was soon spotted by Glenwood High School and offered a fulltime job as a rugby coach. "With Glenwood it has been an awesome experience, they identified my talent early on and have been very good to me. They sent me to the Murray Mexted rugby school  in 2005 in New Zealand and coming back with that knowledge it put me almost into a different league as to the way rugby should be coached not only at school level but at any level," adds Sean. Grabbing every opportunity to achieve his goal he started attending every coaching course he could, going to Sharks practices as an observer as often as possible and he pushed hard to become as competent a coach as possible.

Appointed as a KZN School's selector Sean has been at the forefront of school rugby in KwaZulu-Natal for several years and is one of the most respected school coaches around. The progression has been rapid not only in schools rugby but also amongst professional ranks as he has enjoyed tremendous success as the Sharks U19 Technical Analysis Coach and was involved with the Sharks U21 setup in 2010. "It has been awesome the progression that I have enjoyed as a coach, being involved with the Sharks U19 team this year has taken my coaching to another level," adds Sean. "The senior management here at Glenwood has been hugely supportive of what I do, and the Old Boys here have been brilliant with their support. Of course winning a lot makes the job easier."

"We don't have a dream team, we just work really hard as players and coaches"

Arguably Glenwood High School has become the power house of rugby in KZN and it is the sport that the school has become known for. Although their recent success has come about through being able to attract talented players it is also true that the management at Glenwood have made a concerted effort to provide the necessary structures in order to produce quality teams and this has meant having a dedicated coaching staff. "You know this year was Glenwood's centenary and people were saying that we have tried to groom a dream team for 2010 but we don't have a dream team, we just work really hard as players and coaches. Sure we have had dream seasons in the last few years but we are workers, we can't afford to relax  and sit down for a minute without focusing on the future matches if we did we would be having a very bad hundredth year celebration" adds Sean Erasmus.

To be handpicked by Jake White and Eddie Jones as the best from amongst the countries best up and coming coaches would look good on any coaches' CV and Sean Erasmus has come back from the Jake Whites Winning Ways Course with a renewed appreciation of the intricacies of the career that lies ahead. "You know if you are passionate about coaching that course is excellent because it covered everything. Sometimes as an armchair coach we think the selection of the Springbok team is wrong and that the selectors are idiots but I for one certainly didn't know how difficult it is to make decisions regarding selections, the political things, player availability, the synergy of the entire team and the game plans for each particular match is taken into consideration.  There are just so many factors that a coach has to look at, it is not as simple as jotting down some names on a piece of paper," Sean says.

Mentioning amongst other things he learnt at the Jake White course was how to structure and prepare a team for a match without over structuring a game plan. "The Springboks whilst Jake White was the coach had simple game plans for instance there was the Springbok alphabet that Jake set up; they actually had a booklet that Jake developed over the years. For example "Apple" was a little pop inside to a runner off the base of a ruck or "Aircraft" was a certain move and so it went on through the alphabet. So the players had all these structures and the players knew what they were going to use for example "ABCD" plan. So it was simple to follow. This is something that I have brought with me to Glenwood and the need for a coach not to over structure the game plan," mentions Sean.

"It has been hard work but it has been a great ride so far"

Having spent his time recently with the Sharks U19 as their Technical Analysis Coach , Sean has also been exposed to how heavily coaches depend on accurate game analysis in order to be successful. Working with the Verusco Analysis Program, the most advanced rugby analysis system produced, has allowed him to look at the game differently and study players abilities from another perspective which has obviously benefited the way he has been able to coach the Glenwood team. Recent seasons with Glenwood do suggest that not only have they been able to source and hone some of the best talent available but they have also unearthed what could well be one of the provinces best coaches who has the determination to achieve the highest honors in the sport.

What then makes Sean Erasmus such a successful coach? He answers, "I've worked hard at being a coach, it is just the way I have been brought up, hard work and dedication is always going to be recognized at sometime. And I can't stress enough how supportive the management here at Glenwood have been to me. I always say to my players honesty is the most important thing in life, I don't lie to the players or beat around the bush and when I talk it is not because I want to be nasty but I want them to know exactly where they stand with me. Loyalty is a huge thing for me and then morally I am never scared to tell people that my God has been awesome to me and I have been blessed. To be reminded where we get our talents from is something that needs to be instilled to create good moral fiber. But you know I am hardly at home, coaching Glenwood, Club training in Durban North and the Sharks training means that my family has made huge sacrifices and I could never have done this without them. It has been hard work but it has been a great ride so far!"


Sean Erasmus will be driving Glenwood High once again in 2011 and looks to coach a team that will give the country's best school rugby sides a tough match. He has also been selected as the KZN Craven Week assistant coach which is a move that sees him moving one step closer to his dream of being a coach of a professional team.

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