Dave Wessels has been handed the Western Force head coaching job, but what don't you know about the newest Super Rugby mentor?
1. Rugby not his only field
Dave Wessels might be young but he’s not a career rugby coach either, having cut his teeth away from the clipboard or the whistle. Before embarking on his coaching career, Wessels was head of new media at South African publishing company, Touchline Media. He also helped launch website, SARugby.com, now enveloped by Planet Rugby, a South Africa-based rugby news site.
2. Wessels loves an underdog
The Western Force’s trophy cabinet is empty but it won’t be the first time Wessels has encountered a challenge. He broke a 37-year trophy drought at the University of Cape Town side in 2011, after two seasons at the helm.
3. It’s academic
As well as leading the University of Cape Town, Wessels has spent many hours there studying as well. The former Stormers consultant graduated with a Bachelor of Business Science and has also completed his Masters, in IT.
4. Worldy Wessels?
The 33-year-old is two years younger than captain Matt Hodgson, who Force general manager Mark Sinderberry says is on the verge of re-signing for 2017. To put that in context, Nick Stiles is 15 years older than Reds captain James Slipper, NSW coach Daryl Gibson is 16 years older than skipper Michael Hooper, Tony McGahan is 19 years older than Rebels captain Nic Stirzaker and Stephen Larkham is nine years older than Stephen Moore and 14 the senior of Christian Lealiifano.Having consulted at the Stormers, Brumbies and then coaching at the Force, Wessels has been a part of plenty of Super Rugby sides for a young coach.
5. Second-best Dave
A Super Rugby coach would be a good alumnus for any school to have but Dave Wessels might not even be the most high-profile Dave who graduated from St Stithians in Johannesburg. A handful of international cricketers and Springboks have been to the high school, but it’s Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band, 15 years older than Wessels, who might take the cake.