Senior forwards coach Matt Proudfoot has opted not to renew his contract with Western Province Rugby, but he might not be lost to the union on a permanent basis.
Proudfoot will be linking up with outgoing DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee at Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers in Japan, but Director of Rugby Gert Smal remains hopeful of retaining his services on a consultancy basis, which would see him contribute to the ‘Tight Five Factory’; an innovative project which is aimed at identifying and developing tight five players from youth level and up within WP Rugby.
Proudfoot, 42, has served as forwards coach of both the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province for the past seven seasons, which has seen the Cape team’s pack become one of the most feared units at Super Rugby and Currie Cup level.
In that time, the likes of unheralded juniors Steven Kitshoff, Scarra Ntubeni, Frans Malherbe, Vincent Koch, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Nizaam Carr have progressed into the Springbok ranks (either as Test players or squad members), with the DHL Stormers’ scrummaging power a huge boon in their recently-completed 2015 Super Rugby campaign.
Smal commented: “First and foremost, Matt deserves a lot of credit for what he has achieved here during his time as forwards coach of both the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province.
“Like with Allister (Coetzee), it was always our intention to retain Matt’s services at WP Rugby, but, that said, you cannot stand in somebody’s way should they feel like a change after years of loyal service.
“I would like to thank Matt for his contribution here at WP Rugby and I am hopeful of him continuing as a consultant to our ‘Tight Five Factory’. I have already spoken to Allister Coetzee about that and we will make an announcement about that as soon as we have 100% clarity.”
Proudfoot moved to the Cape at the start of 2009, having been a successful coach of NWU-Pukke at national and Varsity Cup level, and he will be leaving the union with fond memories; which includes three South African Vodacom Super Rugby Conference titles and two Absa Currie Cup triumphs.
“It was a dream come true to coach at Western Province – the union and the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province teams will always remain very close to my heart,” said Proudfoot to the www.iamastormer.com website.
“There comes a time for change, however, and although I am leaving I will be leaving with fond memories and many friendships and plenty of experience.
“I would love to stay involved in the ‘Tight Five Factory’ (project), as I believe it’s a project that has a lot of merit and could only benefit an already strong union like Western Province, so hopefully this won’t mean the end of my involvement here.”