A new start for Old Collegians

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LOOKING FORWARD: New director of rugby Brian Williams welcomes head coach Simphiwe ‘Rose’ Roji to Old Collegians Picture: MAXWELL LEVINE

ONE of the biggest rugby clubs in the Komani district, Old Collegians, has made wholesale changes and restructured their coaching staff, a mandate the current executive followed up on after recent elections.
The mandate from club members was to turn around the fortunes of the club and make it one of the best in Border rugby.
Collegians are currently competing in the Border Premier League, after being relegated from the Super League last year. It has been a tough couple of years for the team, with results not going their way. It was only a matter of time before the club was relegated as they were languishing in the relegation zone for a couple of seasons. The team finished eighth out of 11 teams in the Premier League this year.
For a team that played Super 12 twice and was regarded as one of the best in the region, the executive, action was needed.
The majority of the players come from Victoria Park, Aloevale and New Rest, with Mlungisi and the town suburbs providing a small percentage.
Among the changes is the appointment of Simphiwe “Rose” Roji as head coach. He will assume his duties from January 1.
Roji’s mission is clear as he strives to make wholesale changes to the team structures, pattern of play and bring back discipline and commitment while taking the club to greater heights with the support of the executive and other coaches.
“I am delighted to take up this new challenge. It’s an honour and privilege to work at a club with such a rich history. I am positive that, with the kind of talent at my disposal, this team can go far. I have a high work ethic – the harder you work at training, the better your chances to play well on match days.”
Roji is the current Ikhala FET coach and has built a formidable side. He is a former Breakers coach, current assistant coach of the Border U20 side and the skills coach at the U20 and Bulldogs teams. He is an experienced coach, having previously worked with the Border Urban and Rural sides.
Long-time head coach of OC, Brian Williams, has been promoted to the director of rugby with Reuben van Schalkwyk taking the position of technical analyst.
Mike Peters and Vaughan Tromp will be the two joint coaches of the second team which is the feeder team to the first team. Shanley “Lefty” Coetzee will remain the physio.
OC president Maxwell Levine said, “This club is the dawn of a new era in the Victoria Park, Aloevale and New Rest areas and we will do everything in our power to revive it. The club belongs to the community of Komani and it is our duty to make it viable.”
The club is set to use the former Group 39 base as their training ground with the Thobi Kula Indoor Sport Centre the home base for official fixtures.
The upcoming 10s tournament early next year will be used to select up to 60 players who will have a two week trial to allow the selection of the first and second teams.
Levine thanked the business sector for heeding the call for funding as the club had already signed a couple of sponsorship deals.

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