BY SPORTSCAST WRITER                  

HARARE – World Rugby Hall of Famer Kennedy Tsimba will reportedly be going back to the last top team he played for in his illustrious career in South Africa, as skills coach of United Rugby Championship side Bulls, under the legendary former Springboks tactician Jake White.

Bulls Director of Rugby White – who guided South Africa to the 2007 World Cup title – has been revamping his coaching staff after the Bulls were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the 2022-23 Vodacom URC and Tsimba has already started work ahead of an official announcement.

Another former Springboks coach, Gary Gold, comes in as defence coach at the Pretoria-based franchise.

Fans in Zimbabwe and across the rugby world will be particularly drawn to the appointment of 49-year-old Tsimba, who was his home country’s first black captain but only played just six Test matches for the Sables.

“It’s a massive privilege to be working with a great icon such as World Cup-winning coach Jake White,” Tsimba told SportsCast from Pretoria on Tuesday.

“We have the same rugby vision, which I’m excited about. The quality of the players there (at Bulls) is all Springboks. Plus I get to return to one of my old teams.”

Rusape-born Tsimba – an icon at Cheetahs in Free State where he made nearly a century of appearances on his way to become a record point-scorer in South African first-class rugby – turned out for Blue Bulls in the twilight stages of his career before finishing off at Griffons in the second tier of the Currie Cup. 

The former flyhalf maestro moved into coaching right at the end of his playing days, beginning as an assistant at Cheetahs before going on to make a success of it at school, club and varsity level.

He moves across town in Pretoria to Bulls following a brief stint in charge of Tshwane University of Technology, a developing rugby institution he was aiming to transform into a force to reckon with against some of South Africa’s traditional universities in this sport. Results were beginning to show, early on.

Now, being recruited at Bulls by one of the game’s greatest minds is further lofty endorsement for Tsimba, who started his professional playing career at English Premiership side Bath 26 years ago and was in 2012 inducted into World Rugby’s Hall of Fame alongside his late older brother Richard Tsimba.

The older Tsimba, an incredibly gifted backline player, was the first black person to represent Zimbabwe in rugby. Richard Tsimba – who died in a car crash in Harare in 2000 – was one of six players to feature in both of Zimbabwe’s only two World Cup tournaments in history, in 1987 and 1991.

As for the other mark for young brother Kennedy, working with Jake White is not the first time in his rugby life that he is joining forces with a Springbok World Cup-winning coach. Back in the days, Tsimba was Free State Cheetahs teammates with Rassie Erasmus, who led South Africa to 2019 World Cup glory in Japan, the Boks’ third title in the game’s biggest showpiece.


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