The former Free State forward and coach, Pote Human, is returning “home”. He has been appointed as the new Shimlas head coach for the 2021 Varsity Cup competition and will be in charge of the rugby team for the second time.
According to Human, he has always had a “soft spot” for the Free State, where he coached at club, university, and provincial level.
The experienced coach, who coached the Bulls Super Rugby team in 2019 and 2020, will already be at the University of the Free State (UFS) on 2 November to start preparing the Shimlas for the Varsity Cup. He takes over from the former Springbok flank, Hendro Scholtz, who is no longer available as head coach due to work pressure. Scholtz will continue to be a FNB Shimlas assistant coach.
Human, who has a long association with Free State rugby, has been involved as a coach with teams such as the Bulls, Griquas, Tuks, and the Ricoh Black Rams in Japan.
He says he is excited about the new challenge. “Bloemfontein has wonderful people and the Shimlas have a great management team. I have known Jaco (Swanepoel), who coached my son Gerhard at Grey College, since my years as Shimla coach.”
The former loose forward coached the Shimlas from 2000 to 2004. “I am particularly proud that the Shimlas won the FNB Super Bowl tournament (similar to the Varsity Cup), the Bloemfontein club championship trophy (Stadsbeker), and the National Club Championships in 2004.
“Several of the young men who played for Shimlas at the time, including Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthrö Steenkamp, CJ van der Linde, Ruan Pienaar, and Wian du Preez, later became Springboks.”
Human was replaced by the former Bok coach Jake White as the Bulls head coach in May. The Bulls, under Human’s leadership, finished as the leading South African team on the log in Super Rugby in 2019, and advanced to the quarterfinals.
Human played two matches for the Free State senior team in 1979 as an U19 player, and again played for the province from 1989 to 1993 – a total of 82 matches, 64 of them as captain. He also played 116 games for Eastern Province.
“Pote is a seasoned coach who will bring something new to the team,” said Swanepoel, Head of Rugby Coaching and High-Performance Sports at the UFS.”