The Bulls must consider replacing the outgoing John Mitchell with Jimmy Stonehouse, writes JUANDRE JOUBERT.
Stonehouse started his coaching career at Hoerskool Ermelo in 1990. He was also the coach of the Pumas Craven Week team (South Eastern Transvaal) from 1990 to 1992 and from 1994 to 1997.
In 1998 he moved to Pretoria to coach Waterkloof for almost a decade, guiding them to the Blue Bulls title for the first time in 12 years in 2003. He also coached the Blue Bulls Craven Week team on two separate occasions. Stonehouse was a busy man in Pretoria, also coaching the Blue Bulls Women’s Sevens side and he guided the national women’s sevens team to an Africa tournament victory in Uganda.
Stonehouse was involved in club rugby too, guiding Harlequins to the Carlton League for the first time in 22 years.
He also had a stint in Russia, coaching their sevens team as well as their U19 team in 2000 and 2001.
In January 2008, Stonehouse got his breakthrough with the Pumas. In only his second year in charge, the Pumas won the Currie Cup First Division title.
The following year, in the Currie Cup, they defeated defending champions, the Blue Bulls, 22-21 in Nelspruit. They also won away against the Lions.
Stonehouse won two Currie Cup First Division titles at the Pumas before moving to Japan to coach Toshiba Brave Lupus. He spent two years in Japan before returning to the Pumas to take up a director of rugby role in January 2018.
Stonehouse has done enough to deserve a chance at one of the bigger unions. He is a ‘no-nonsense coach’ that will get the best out of his players. He proved that with what he has achieved at the Pumas.
The Bulls have struggled to find a good long-term coach since the departure of Frans Ludeke. Ludeke achieved a lot at the Pretoria-based franchise, but once the big-name players started leaving, he could not get the best from the youngsters that remained. Nollis Marias was next in line, and he also struggled. Mitchell added innovation and an attacking flair, but the team defensively was among the worst in Super Rugby and conceded the third most points. They also won just six from 16 matches.
Stonehouse will improve that return.
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