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Super Rugby's Lions appoint 37-year-old Van Rooyen as head coach

Van Rooyen was S&C coach for the Johannesburg side before taking the reins for the Currie Cup.

Van Rooyen ahead of a Super Rugby match against the Chiefs in April.
Van Rooyen ahead of a Super Rugby match against the Chiefs in April.
Image: Photosport/Jeremy Ward/INPHO

IVAN VAN ROOYEN was today named as the new head coach of Super Rugby side the Golden Lions and tasked with reviving the fortunes of the Johannesburg club.  

The 37-year-old succeeds Swys de Bruin, who recently took up a consultancy role with the Southern Kings after leaving posts with the Lions and the Springboks following bouts of a stress-related illness.

Van Rooyen, who picked up the nickname Commander Cash (‘Kommandeur Kontant’),  has risen through the ranks during 10 years at the Lions, starting as coach of age grade teams and working as the strength and conditioning coach before assisting De Bruin and coaching the Lions’ Currie Cup team.

“We have the opportunity to create something very special. We have a young but dynamic team and a blank canvas,” said Van Rooyen, whose season will begin with a clash against the Jaguares on 1 February.   

After reaching three consecutive finals of the southern hemisphere competition from 2016, the Lions lost eight of 16 matches this year and failed to qualify for the Super Rugby play-offs.

Van Rooyen will have to do without two Springboks next year, hooker Malcolm Marx and flanker Kwagga Smith, as they have signed short-term contracts to play in Japan.

On the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly, Eoin Toolan and Murray Kinsella provide their insight into how England took apart the All Blacks, and examine the challenge facing Rassie’s ‘Boks

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