This one will come as a huge surprise to those outside the Kearsney circle of rugby interest. The highly respected and humble Barend Steyn, Kearsney’s head coach ever since 2001 and by far the longest serving KZN tier-1 head coach, has made the decision to step down and allow his assistant Francois Lubbe to take up the reins.
Barend, a teacher by profession was into his third 5-year term as head coach (just Kearsney’s third coach since the 1980′s) will still serve as Director of Rugby for the coming 3 years. He hopes to use this time that will now be freed up to work a lot closer with the College’s other teams and coaches. In the interim he will also stay on as 1st XV forwards coach until a permanent replacement is appointed.
Earlier this year, SA Sports Illustrated named Barend as one of the 5 Best School Coaches in South Africa. Any award of that nature is subjective but it was based on research which if it did nothing else, illustrated the huge value adding contribution Barend has made to school rugby at Kearsney and in KZN.
Barend has already been reappointed as KZN Craven Week head coach. Although it is preferred, it is not a pre-requisite that the KZN Craven Week coaches be school head coach as well.
Francois Lubbe a man of equal modesty to Barend, has been the Kearsney assistant coach for three seasons. As testimony to his own coaching acumen, he was appointed as the KZN under-16 Grant Khomo head coach earlier this year.