Sharksworld chats to Jaco Pienaar (Part 1)

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 27 Jan 2017 at 09:41
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

I caught up with new Sharks forward coach Jaco Pienaar yesterday for a bit of a chat. Jaco was appointed to the role late last year and seems to be fitting in well so far. As with all newcomers to the Sharks setup, the Sharksworld interview is becoming something of a rite of passage and I’m pleased to report that new coaches are not exempt! A big thanks, as always, to Novashni and the Sharks PR department for facilitating.

Jaco is still a young guy (younger than me and I’m definitely not old!) but boasts an impressive coaching track record. Schooled in Vereeniging, he played Craven Week for the Valke in the late 90s, but decided pretty quickly that it was coaching, not playing, that would define his future in rugby.

Jaco picks up the story. “I studied at Potchefstroom University (as a Maths and Science teacher) and played rugby there as well,” he tells me. “I started coaching there in 2002 already, when I was only 21 years old; I coached at the PUK Rugby Institute for 10 years and that included two years with the Leopards senior side in the Currie Cup, where we won the First Division. Last year I was involved with the Blue Bulls and now I’m at the Sharks, so most of my career was at Pukke; I coach Varsity Cup, seniors, under 19s, under 21s – I’ve been head coach, forwards coach, defensive coach, so in those ten years I worked all over, at lots of different levels and in different roles as well.”

He knew, early on, that he wanted to coach, though. “That’s why I decided to go the teaching route, to start with a school and then maybe a Craven Week side, but then stuff just started happening for me; I was involved with the University side at an early age and then started working my way up to the senior side – everything just spiralled out of that!”

It was in Potch that Jaco first met Sharks Head Coach Rob du Preez: “We were involved in coaching there together for two years – the senior side and the Varsity Cup side – and that’s where we met for the first time – I worked as his assistant coach.” Clearly, the young coach, who had spent the previous eight years as a key part of a successful coaching team at the institute, impressed du Preez enough that he would become the former Bok’s choice as assistant coach for the Sharks Super Rugby side.

A big step up, for sure, but Jaco feels the things he has learned working with junior teams can certainly come in handy. “I think always you need to coach the small things and try to get the guys to do those small things a little better, because you don’t usually have as much talent; that said, at the Varsity Cup and in the Currie Cup First division, we had pretty good talent in those sides which is why we did well when I was there.”

Jaco and his forwards are hard at work, perfecting scrums and lineouts and other techniques. Things are going well at the moment, but as he tells me “everyone’s got a plan and everything’s always going well until you start playing those first few games. Then you’ll see what’s going on.” That to me, sounded a fair bit like the famous Mike Tyson quote, to which he quips “that’s always my motto for the scrums! If you can punch the guys in the face in the scrums then usually a few other plans go out the window.” He’s talking figuratively, of course…. the days when you could get away with throwing punches on the rugby field are, thankfully, far behind us!

In part 2 of this interview, we get Jaco’s thoughts on the Sharks pack and prospects for the coming season.


  • Sounds like a level headed guy with some fresh ideas. Good luck to him and lets see what he can do. Hopefully his energy filters down to the players. And maybe we do need to throw a few punches in the scrums..we seem far too nice

  • Comment 1, posted at 27.01.17 09:49:19 by SheldonK Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 1) : I agree, the game is so boring now that punches are not being thrown. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 2, posted at 27.01.17 09:55:53 by Uli Boelie Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli Boelie
  • @Uli Boelie (Comment 2) : The law makers want the game to speed up and be more attractive…simple solution- bring back rucking and watch how quickly that ball becomes available at a ruck

  • Comment 3, posted at 27.01.17 10:20:15 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 3) : Exactly. When I came off a rugby field and didn’t have a ruck mark on my back I felt like I had a poor game. 😆

  • Comment 4, posted at 27.01.17 10:32:42 by Uli Boelie Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli Boelie
  • Looking forward to part 2. Thanks for the interview.

  • Comment 5, posted at 27.01.17 11:37:14 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Thanks, Rob. Good luck, Jaco…

  • Comment 6, posted at 27.01.17 12:15:41 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • Brains and experience, could be a good thing for us. Let’s see.

  • Comment 7, posted at 27.01.17 17:36:58 by coolfusion Reply


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