Stick backed to succeed as Boks’ back-line coach

Kings head coach Deon Davids has backed his assistant, Mzwandile Stick, to be a success in his new role as the Springboks' backline coach.

The 31-year-old was named as one of new Springboks head coach Allister Coetzee's assistants alongside Johann van Graan, who will continue in his role as forwards coach.

Stick is a former Springbok Sevens stalwart, who played full-back and wing in the 15-man game. He retired in 2013 and began his coaching career as an assistant with the Eastern Province U21 side.

He has worked hard and developed as a coach, guiding the Eastern Province U19 side to the provincial title as head coach last year, before being promoted to the Southern Kings management team at the beginning of 2016.

"Stick has been a great asset to the Southern Kings in the build up to our Super Rugby campaign. He has made significant contributions at management level and we will be sad to see him go,” Davids told the Kings' official website.

"At the same time we realise that this is a fantastic opportunity for him and we are positive that he will take it with both hands and will make the most of the opportunity. 

"We wish him all the best as he embarks on the next part of his rugby journey."

Former Springbok prop Robbie Kempson, who is the current EP Kings Currie Cup coach, echoed Davids' sentiments.

"What most people don’t know about him is that he is a very strong character," Kempson told IOL.

"He demands respect on the field, and in a coaching environment he really gets involved with the players, and makes them understand what the game is all about."

Kempson said Stick doesn't think in a conventional way and expects him to improve the Springboks' attack.

"He is a very much a guy who thinks outside of the box,” he added.

"We have probably had a conservative plan over the last few years, but he is much more of an expansive type player.

"He thinks about different aspects of the game.

"With the Sevens background he looks more for the space than running into brick walls.

"So he is very much aware of providing an outcome regarding the flair of the players at his disposal."

Stormers defence coach Paul Treu, who was Stick's coach during his stint with South Africa's national Sevens team, feels Stick's ability to say what's on his mind is one of his biggest strengths.

“He is a guy who is a straight-talker, he says what he feels," he explained.

"He knows what he wants from people, and how he wants people to treat him.

“But he also knows his place, and he knows that he still has a lot to learn. He is also a competitor, and that is why the progression from player to captain and to coach has been so easy."