Parel Vallei has announced the appointment of Alwyn Burger as their new Director of Rugby for 2024 as the Somerset West school looks to continue its progress across a wide variety of sporting codes. He makes the move from Hugenote Hoërskool.
Watch the 2023 season again on SuperSport Schools – Register now
“I’m excited to be working with a bunch of guys who are as passionate as I am about growth”, said Burger about the new challenge.
“The headmaster, Mr David Schenk, and I probably watched every moment of the World Cup together telephonically. We were still talking about the final into the early hours of Sunday morning.”
“When you have a headmaster who is just as enthusiastic and excited about working with you, it almost makes you nervous with anticipation to get the job started.”
Over the past couple of years, Parel Vallei’s sports’ programmes have made massive strides.
“The hockey is immaculate. They’re running a great hockey programme for boys and girls,” Burger said. “The netball has been picking up well over the last two years as well, so we’ll be looking to do the same with the rugby.”
Parel Vallei’s cricket has also been among the best in the Boland region in recent years, with the school regularly testing its skills against some of the strongest teams in the country.
“It will be my responsibility to find a solution that ensures [there is] a balance that maintains our academic record, while also creating a culture that understands how much work needs to be invested to be competitive in our league and start challenging the bigger rivals in the area soon.”
Burger said he will aim to build upon the foundations laid by previous Parel Vallei successes to lift the school to the next level.
With 14 years of experience to contribute, Burger will be taking a hands-on approach as Director of Rugby as well, offering his input and expertise and abilities to help build the rugby program.
“I remember playing against them with Hugenote in 2019. My under-16 team won their game with a penalty at the end of the match, but the rest of their teams all beat us.
“Thinus Pienaar, who was in charge at the time, put great systems in place. I’ll look to build on those going forward. We’re fortunate to also bring in Lucas Roothman as the 1st XV coach.”
Roothman has previously done duty as a specialist coach at Paul Roos Gimnasium. He adds more than 12 years’ worth of knowledge to the coaching team.
“Something I’ve learned in my time involved with sports is that the communication channels need to be completely open at all times. Coaches shouldn’t have any doubt about their roles,” Burger said.
“My policy is that coaches need to be able to communicate with me freely. I believe the way we work together to solve a problem will say a lot more about our character than the emotions involved with confrontation.”
A rugby-man through and through, Burger is excited about focusing on the sport he loves, though he enjoyed the diversity of his role in overseeing various sporting codes in the past.
“I love it! There is something different to take from every type of sport. You might be humbled at athletics, and then find a new way to win at netball later, picking up tricks of the trade, but I am excited to be focusing on rugby.”
He says his ultimate goal is to earn a reputation for Parel Vallei as a well-balanced school where students are given an opportunity to excel in whatever they choose to pursue.