Rhi­nos gear up for new sea­son

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO SPORT - Richard Springo­rum

THE Em­pan­geni Rugby Foot­ball Club will be host­ing a player/coach in­for­ma­tion ses­sion at their premises on Tues­day at 6pm.

All play­ers and coaches in­ter­ested in be­ing in­cluded in the Rhi­nos rugby fam­ily this year are wel­come to at­tend.

Kobus Wer­nich will coach the 2019 squad dur­ing this, the Club’s cen­te­nary an­niver­sary

Man­age­ment is also call­ing on all newly re­tired Premier League play­ers to share their skills and ex­pe­ri­ence with the squad.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing on Tues­day, 15 play­ers will be in­vited to take part in a light warm-up ses­sion in the form of an in­for­mal touch rugby match.

For­mal club prac­tices will be­gin on Thurs­day, 17

Jan­uary at 6pm.

Meet the coach

Kobus Wer­nich played rugby at pro­vin­cial level with nu­mer­ous Springbok play­ers in the days be­fore rugby be­came a full-time pro­fes­sional ca­reer.

He played with the likes of Naas Botha, Eric Her­bert and Hugh Reece-Ed­wards in his ca­reer be­tween 1979 and 1988, be­fore be­ing forced to re­tire af­ter a se­ri­ous neck in­jury.

The rugby lov­ing an­a­lyst and coach was born in the Free State and ar­rived in Zu­l­u­land in 2009.

‘It is ac­tu­ally funny how things work out,’ said Wer­nich.

‘I came down to Em­pan­geni on hol­i­day and ended up get­ting a job as a co­or­di­na­tor/coach at the Zu­l­u­land Rugby Academy in 2009.’

He was part of the academy set-up from 2009 to 2011.

He played fly­half for the Grif­fons team at Craven Week in 1978, be­fore rep­re­sent­ing the Univer­sity of Free State and Free State U20 teams in 1979-1981. He was then se­lected for the Free State B team and South African Univer­sity U20 team in 1981.

In 1982, he changed po­si­tions to in­side cen­tre af­ter play­ing club rugby (Pre­to­ria Po­lice) and pro­vin­cial rugby(North­ern Transvaal) with Naas Botha in 1982. ‘Play­ing with Naas was one high­light of many in my ca­reer.

‘I re­garded him as very pro­fes­sional and one of the best de­ci­sion mak­ers to ever play the game.’

It was a par­tic­u­larly good sea­son for Wer­nich, who played for the South African Po­lice Col­lege side in Pre­to­ria, South African Po­lice team, North­ern Transvaal U25 and se­nior sides.

In 1983 Wer­nich moved back to the Free State and played for Free State un­til 1984.

In 1985 he went to Welkom and played full-time for the Grif­fons and North­ern Free State teams with Eric Her­bert un­til 1988, when he broke his neck and was tem­po­rar­ily paral­ysed af­ter a bad tackle.

Kobus Wer­nich will coach the 2019 Rhino squad

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