Ex-Stormer now Wynberg Boys rugby coach

Nic Groom, left, with Wynberg Boys’ High School’s outgoing director of rugby, Craig Childs. Picture: Supplied.

Wynberg Boys’ High School has appointed former Western Province and Stormers scrum-half Nic Groom as director of rugby.

He picks up the reins of the school’s rugby programme from Craig Childs, who after six years as director has taken up a coaching position with Western Province Rugby.

According to NextGenXV, a website that provides coverage of school rugby from across the globe, Wynberg Boys’ High School is ranked 13th in the top-100 South African school rugby first-team rankings for 2022.

“There has been a huge amount of time, effort and care that has been put into the rugby programme by Craig Childs,” said Mr Groom. “My hope is to build on what he has done and continue to develop a programme that the boys, old boys and friends of Wynberg want to be a part of and feel a connection to.”

Mr Groom launched his coaching career consulting UCT Ikey Tigers in the Varsity Cup, after retiring from professional rugby in 2021.

“I look back on my career with immense gratitude. I have been lucky enough to play all over the world, but I think coaches that had the biggest impact on my career, for numerous reasons, were Robbie Fleck, John Dobson and Swys de Bruin.”

Mr Groom said it would be a mistake to assume all former players would be competent coaches.

“There are possibly some obvious advantages in having recently played the game, like having access to respected rugby voices and having exposure to a high-performance environment, but, the players are not professionals, they are school kids, and that needs to be considered in your coaching. Regardless of your background, you need to be committed to upskilling and learning every day.”

He said his primary focus now was to create an environment where the boys felt they could compete, improve and be supported to achieve their goals.

“I believe rugby does not need to be complicated to be effective. As a coach, I want to help players see that and help them simplify the game.

“The training focus changes around different times of the year based on the needs of the boys. Justin van Winkel, the first-team rugby coach, and his squad, have put a huge amount of effort in structuring the programme to make sure the boys are well prepared for the start of the season. Personally, I will be helping the scrum-halves with their individual skills, as well as have eyes on small parts of the attack and defence.”