University of Fort Hare rugby coach Lumumba Currie is relishing the chance of working with South Africa’s elite young players after being appointed to the Junior Springboks management team.
His immediate task will be to help prepare the Junior Boks for the IRB U20 World Championship held in South Africa from June 24 to July 14.
The 38-year-old, a World Rugby Level 3 accredited coach, has been in charge of the Blues since 2014, with the crowning glory coming when they claimed the FNB Varsity Shield last year.
Until his appointment with the Junior Boks, he was head coach of the Border Bulldogs and coached the union’s U19 (2008 to 2009) and U21 (2014 to 2015) teams. He worked with the SA Rugby Academy in Border from 2014 to 2017.
His new role was the realisation of a long-cherished ambition as he sought to move up the coaching ladder.
“As a coach, to work with a national team is something you dream of,” said Currie, who will take charge of the Junior Boks forwards.
“As much as you work hard to develop the players under you, you also want to grow as a coach and this is a great opportunity for me.”
The Blues mentor added that as significant as it was for him, it was also a positive development for Fort Hare.
“I see this as a good thing for the university because I will be interacting with the types of players we will be looking to recruit for the Blues going forward.
“Another point is that it means people are noticing what we are achieving with our rugby players at Fort Hare.”
Although the appointment was his, he felt what the Blues had achieved by winning the Varsity Shield last season and having a good run in 2023 was the result of the work they had been doing as a coaching team.
“This is a victory for the institution and shows the strides we have made to put Fort Hare rugby on the map.”
Currie said his future with the Blues still had to be decided.
“I am busy having discussions with the varsity authorities about the way forward, so there’s no clarity on that at this stage.”
He said that he had already joined the Junior Boks squad and that they would be working hard over the next few weeks to prepare for the global event.
“Our aim is simple – we want to win the World Championship,” he said. “It will take a lot of work to achieve that but we are excited at the opportunity of playing at home.”
He suggested that it was what they needed as a country to hopefully set the tone for the senior World Cup in France later this year.
“There is more pressure playing at home, but that is something we have to live with.”
The tournament features the top 12 teams in the world and will be played in the Western Cape. Due to the Covid pandemic, the tournament has not been held since 2019.
South Africa last hosted the World Championship in 2012 when they won the title.