More about the South African’s coaching experience from Jon Cardinelli

Who is Deon Davids: Ten things you should know about the Springboks forwards coach

Deon Davids is a former head coach of the Southern Kings who was recently added to the Springboks back-room team following Matt Proudfoot’s decision to take up a job with the England national side.

Here are a few more facts and stats about South Africa’s forwards coach.

Ten things you should know about Deon Davids

1. Davids was born on 11 February 1968 in Victoria West, South Africa.

2. He played flanker and No 8 at club level for Boland, as well as for the University of the Western Cape.

While playing for the latter, he earned an honours qualification in Human Movement Studies.

3. Davids first made waves as a head coach for Currie Cup First Division sides such as Boland Cavaliers and South Western District Eagles.

4. In the early stages of his career, he served as an assistant coach to the Emerging Springboks team that competed at the Nations Cup in Romania, as well as the South African U20 side.

5. During apartheid, rugby was segregated along racial lines and people of colour were barred from coaching or playing for the ‘official’ provincial and national teams.

While much has changed since South Africa became a democracy in 1994, very few black coaches have been granted opportunities as head coaches at franchise level.

Davids is just the third person of colour – after Chester Williams and Allister Coetzee – to preside over a South African team (the Southern Kings) in Super Rugby or the Pro14.

6. When the Southern Kings returned to the Super Rugby fold in 2016, Davids was given the unenviable task of managing a team that was short on money and resources. The Kings won two of their 15 matches.

In 2017, however, the Kings broke a number of franchise records. The plucky side from the Eastern Cape scored inaugural wins in Argentina and Australia, and even managed to finish ahead of the Bulls on the Super Rugby table.

7. In late 2017, SANZAAR reduced the number of teams in the Super Rugby tournament from 18 to 15. The Kings, as well as the Cheetahs and Western Force, were relegated.

Most of the top players left the region as a result, and Davids was forced to rebuild a new squad ahead of a challenging new venture into the Pro14.

8. Davids is an admirer of the All Blacks and the culture the team has created during an era of dominance. He lists Legacy by James Kerr and The Jersey by Peter Bills as his favourite books. Both explore the correlation between culture and success.

9. Many people in South African rugby circles believe that Davids has the makings of a future Springboks head coach.

In the lead-up to the 2019 Rugby Championship opener in Johannesburg, Davids was spotted at a Springbok training session wearing a team tracksuit and chatting with the other coaches. Erasmus played down speculation at the time, stating that Davids had joined the session as ‘an observer’.

10. Following the 2019 Rugby World Cup, SA Rugby confirmed that Davids would succeed Matt Proudfoot as the Springboks forwards coach.

When the pandemic-enforced lockdown ended in September 2020, Davids was given the opportunity to coach the ‘Gold team’ in a Springbok trial match staged at Newlands.

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