Ex University of Johannesburg (UJ) duo, Bafana Nhleko and Sandile Ngcobo, were recently appointed to various national rugby team roles following their successes in the Junior Springboks and Blitzboks, respectively. Nhleko now takes the reins as the Junior Springboks head coach after serving as the assistant coach to Chean Roux.
Former Blitzboks player, Sandile Ngcobo, is now the new head coach of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy.
In addition to their recent appointments, a current UJ student Ronald Brown, was also selected to be part of the experienced Springbok Sevens players who were scheduled to travel to Madrid in February 2021.
This was to be Brown’s first cap to the national squad. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, SA Rugby announced that the Springbok Sevens team will not participate in the Madrid Sevens tournaments at Campo UCM Central this month. The Spanish government had extended their COVID-19 travel restrictions on some countries, including South Africa. The SA Sevens will miss the two tournaments that are scheduled to be organised in Spain from 19 to 21 and 26 to 28 February 2021.
Brown, a cancer survivor, is a product of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy set-up and a UJ rugby star in the FNB Varsity Cup annual tournament. He will soon be graduating with an education degree from UJ.
Nhleko joined the Junior Springbok coaching structures as an assistant-coach in 2018. Ngcobo played for the Blitzboks when they won back-to-back World Rugby Sevens Series titles in 2017 and 2018.
A UJ alumnus, Nhleko completed his BA Humanities degree at the then Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) and later obtained his Postgraduate Certification in Education (PGCE) qualification at UJ. Recently, he also enrolled for Business Administration Management. Nhleko has coached in all the UJRC ranks. His recent coaching roles include the Varsity Cup first team in 2018 and the Varsity Cup Young Guns team which finished on second position in 2016. In 2019, he was appointed a consultant in the Varsity Cup campaign and has played an important role in the club coaching structures.
Ncgobo is a former Highlands North Boys High School pupil and alumnus of UJ’s Bastion men’s residence. He joined UJ in 2009 and represented the UJRC in age group teams, USSA Sevens and was one of the key players in the dominant Ratels team.
“As a club we are very excited about the appointments of both individuals in their respective roles. We congratulate them and wish them all the success in the national teams and future roles,” says Bongani Mashiya, Manager: UJ Rugby.
“UJ Sport congratulates Bafana, Sandile and Ronald for their appointments and selection to add value to the national teams. This is testament to UJ’s ability to uplift coaches and players into role models for the current crop of players and upcoming athletes. We know their prowess on and off the pitch and hope that this will bring the desired results for our national pride,” says Nomsa Mahlangu, Senior Director: UJ Sport.
Following his appointment, Ngcobo said, “I see this as a great opportunity to grow as a coach, to keep on working with experienced people such as Neil Powell, Renfred Dazel and Marius, and to help ensure our pipeline of untapped talent providing players for the Blitzboks runs smoothly.”
On their appointments as coaches, SA Rugby Director, Rassie Erasmus, had this to say about them, “We’re committed to ensuring there is a development pipeline for our coaches and with Bafana and Sandile we’ve accomplished that as both have been in our systems for some time.”