Corinthians RFC has signalled its intention for the forthcoming season with the bold appointment of South African Phil Pretorius as head coach.
A former international coach to Tonga, Phil Pretorius is a well known coach in South Africa, having been in charge of Super 14 team the Blue Bulls, and Rugby Stellenbosch University.
Corinthians boast one of the strongest mini/youth sections in the country, but the club is also aiming for a return to division one rugby, having spent several years in the lower divisions. In the last two seasons the Cloonacauneen outfit has steadily improved its league standing, and this year finish just one place off the top four in division 2A.
Incoming club chairman Brian Casburn said the club had “ decided to invest in the future”. “ The appointment of Phil Pretorius tells the players and members alike that we are striving to reach the highest levels and this is a statement of intent regarding our ambition.”
Phil Pretorius’ last full-time coaching job was with the South Western Districts Eagles from 2006 to 2008, and since then the 54-years-old established himself as a consultant sport psychologist. The holder of a doctorate in history from the University of the Orange Free State, Pretorius was a journalist and teacher before becoming a professional coach in 1997.
Since then he helped the South Western Districts to the top eight of South African rugby having finished last in the Currie Cup the previous year, earning him a nomination for international coach of the year and a joint winner of the Currie Cup coach of the year. He coached Tonga in1999, the South African Barbarians, the Bulls and the Falcolns.
Pretorius said it had been his “dream” to coach in Ireland, having applied for the Ulster job in 2001 before taking on the Bulls.
“I’m excited to be joining such a vibrant club, my emphasis is on the future and my part in trying to help build an enjoyable and winning culture.”