SA Rugby appoints GM into new high-performance role

SA Rugby appoints GM into new high-performance role

Dave Wessels, the former coach of Super Rugby teams, the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels, has been appointed to a new role of General Manager for High Performance Rugby at SA Rugby.

Wessels, 41, who is currently the head of rugby at the DHL Stormers/Western Province, takes up his new post immediately.

The appointment continues the repurposing of the rugby department of SA Rugby, which began with the appointment of Rassie Erasmus as head coach and the mothballing of the role of director of rugby.

Simultaneously, the role of GM: Rugby has been discontinued and the incumbent, Charles Wessels (no relation), will focus entirely on Springbok affairs.

“We are undertaking a review of all rugby activities and ensuring the structure is best purposed to meet the needs of our national teams,” said Rian Oberholzer, CEO of SA Rugby.

“These changes begin the process of providing better support for all our national teams and further changes are being considered.

“The appointment of Dave Wessels achieves two objectives – it allows Rassie and Charles Wessels to focus solely on the national team while creating a resource that can provide greater direction and support to our other national teams.

“In particular it will allow for greater emphasis on the strategic needs and future plans of our sevens, women’s and junior national teams whose requirements will now receive singular attention.”

Wessels comes with an impressive rugby pedigree since moving into coaching in 2008 from a successful career in website development after earning a masters’ degree in IT (Information Technology) from the University of Cape Town.

He first worked as a consultant with DHL Western Province/Stormers, graduating to spells as an assistant coach with UCT and the ACT Brumbies in Australia before taking over as head coach of the Western Force (the youngest ever Super Rigby coach) and subsequently the Melbourne Rebels.

He returned to South Africa after a decade in Australia and took up the role as head of rugby at DHL Western Province/Stormers in 2022.

Wessels said: “Rassie gave me my first real job in rugby back in 2008 and I know what a good environment he runs. It’s a privilege to be part of a world-leading organisation such as SA Rugby.

“The needs of high-performance environments are always changing, and my job will be to offer support and create systems that will ensure sustained success for South Africa's teams into the future.

“This is a big challenge, and I hope that the experiences I’ve had in various roles both here and abroad for the past decade and a half will be beneficial.

“I’m also very grateful to the DHL Stormers. It’s been wonderful to be a part of the team over the last few years and I wish the guys all the best.”

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