Golden Lions turns to conditioning guru as head coach for Currie Cup

Coach Ivan Van Rooyen of the Lions during the Xerox Golden Lions Mixed Zone at Johannesburg Stadium on August 21, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Coach Ivan Van Rooyen of the Lions during the Xerox Golden Lions Mixed Zone at Johannesburg Stadium on August 21, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

The Golden Lions have opted to retain conditioning guru Ivan van Rooyen as their head coach in the Currie Cup.

Van Rooyen‚ who took that responsibility last year and coached the team to third place on the points table before they lost their semi-final against the Sharks in Durban‚ also briefly held the reins of the Super Rugby side when head coach Swys de Bruin required a mental medical time-out.

The Lions are going to need to make significant strides in the Currie Cup after a disappointing Super Rugby campaign in which they finished ninth.

It was quite a fall after reaching the final on three successive seasons and whether Van Rooyen is the right man to engineer that kind of improvement is moot.

The Lions have been in mini lock down since their Super Rugby exit and on Friday they did not bother announcing who the rest of their coaching group will be.

Franchise head coach De Bruin has been seconded to the Springboks as attack coach for their commitments in the Rugby Championship and the Rugby World Cup.

The Lions did announced that wing Courtnall Skosan has opted to renew his contract with the franchise until 2021 but they made no mention of the departure of scrumhalf Nic Groom.

The former Stormers and Northampton halfback will be joining Edinburgh.

“I'm really excited to link-up with Edinburgh‚” he told the club’s website.

“I've been keeping an eye on their results from South Africa and it's definitely a club on the rise. I can't wait to play my role in the seasons to come. My time at the Lions has been awesome. I've had the chance to work with fantastic coaches alongside some great players and I'm hugely grateful for the opportunity they gave me to play for them.

“From what I've heard‚ Edinburgh is a great place to live and play your rugby. My family can't wait for the adventure that lies ahead.”

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