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Wisbech appoint 'Wessie' as head coach




Wisbech Rugby Club has named the vastly experienced Gerhard Wessels as head coach for the forthcoming season.

He will be supported by assistant coach Mark Goude and newly-appointed strength and conditioning coach Mark Laws. The trio will support director of rugby Leonard Veenendaal.

Wessels is a highly experience rugby professional with a playing and coaching career that stretches back over many seasons. The utility back, known to his team mates as 'Wessie', joined from Saffron Walden after Christmas and made an immediate impact on and off the pitch.

Gerhard Wessels (38521027)
Gerhard Wessels (38521027)

Wessie has played at Shelford and was part of the Cambridge team which won National 2 South. He has represented a number of Premier League clubs on the JP Morgan 7s circuit and played for the British Army seniors XV for over a decade, winning many inter services matches as well as the Defence World Cup in New Zealand.

He was part of the Royal Engineers RFC when they were unbeaten for more than three years and captained the Army Sevens team for more than five years, winning the sevens Defence World Cup in America. Prior to his rugby career in the UK, Wessie played Western Province Sevens and was part of the South African Developing Sevens Squad.

A qualified RFU Level 2 Coach, Wessie has more than nine years' top flight coaching experience which includes head coach of the Royal Engineers Snr XV from 2019 and still ongoing. He was assistant Coach at Saffron Walden from 2018-19 and coached the Eastern Counties under-20s last season.

Centre Gerhard Wessels on the charge which led to the first Wisbech try in their epic win over Crusaders away at the end of February (38521121)
Centre Gerhard Wessels on the charge which led to the first Wisbech try in their epic win over Crusaders away at the end of February (38521121)

Director of rugby Leonard Veenendaal said: "It was a challenging task to find somebody who can follow and build on what outgoing head coach Nico Steenkamp had put in place.

“Wessie made an immediate impact when he joined us at the end of January, earning the players' unreserved respect. With his proven track record in gaining better success rates, his excellent working ethic with fellow coaches and his canny ability to build a strong squad of players based on mutual respect and support, I had no doubt we had found the right person for the job.

“His vast experience of junior representative rugby is something that we are extremely pleased with and his knowledge of the game will be fantastic for our young, talented players. I am looking forward to seeing the squad, the young players and fellow coaches grow under his coaching leadership.

“Wessie is a fierce competitor and a true professional, which is exactly the type of player-coach we want in our squad.”

Wisbech pre-season starts on Tuesday at 7pm, according to the RFU guidelines.

Further appointments and new signings will be announced over the next couple of weeks.



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