Pote Human has been appointed head coach of the Bulls' Super Rugby team, replacing John Mitchell after the New Zealander departed the Pretoria-based franchise in September to take up a position as England's defence coach.
Human's appointment for the 2019 season was something of a shock even though he had been assistant coach to the Super Rugby team and had taken charge of the Blue Bulls in this year's Currie Cup.
Bulls and Springboks legend Victor Matfield reportedly had been the Blue Bulls Company's preferred candidate, having applied for the position, but Afrikaans newspaper Rapport reported on Monday that he had said 'no' to the job due to family reasons and a long-term contract offered to him by SuperSport as a commentator.
Southern Kings coach Deon Davids had also been in the running for the position.
Human, who will be mentored by Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus during pre-season in the build-up to the Super Rugby campaign, was a no-nonsense loose forward who played 116 games for Eastern Province and 82 for Free State.
He started his coaching career with the South Africa Under-23 side in 1995, as an assistant coach, then moved to Shimlas for a five-year period, winning the National Club Championship in 2004, before becoming an assistant coach with the Blue Bulls Currie Cup side in 2005. He became assistant coach to the Super Rugby team under Heyneke Meyer, in 2006, and shared the Currie Cup title with Free State Cheetahs as head coach in the same year. His role as assistant coach in the Vodacom Bulls winning their first Super Rugby title in 2007 was vital.
Human also spent two years at the Ricoh Rugby Club in Japan as forwards coach before returning as Director of Rugby at Garsfontein High School. He then became head coach of Griquas for a short stint, returning to Pretoria to coach Tuks to a Varsity cup title.
He has been at Loftus for the past five years as Super Sport Challenge and Under-21 head coach, Bulls forwards coach and Blue Bulls Currie Cup head coach, and Blue Bulls Company chairman and president of the union Willem Strauss said in a statement that he was excited about Human succeeding Mitchell.
"Pote has proved himself at every level and has track record that speaks for itself‚" Strauss said.
"We are privileged to have someone of his calibre within our system that can step up into this role.
"He has the full support of everybody at Lotfus."
The Pretoria-franchise also confirmed the appointment of Alan Zondagh as Director of Rugby.
Zondagh, who signed a three-year deal at the Bulls, coached Eastern Province and Western Province in the 1990s before leaving for England, where he coached London Scottish. He was also the Director of Rugby at Saracens and later fulfilled the same role at Boland. In recent years, he has run the Rugby Performance Centre in Riebeek West in the Western Cape.
Zondagh, who signed a three-year deal at the Bulls, coached Eastern Province and Western Province in the 1990s before leaving for England where he coached London Scottish. He was also the Director of Rugby at Saracens and later fulfilled the same role at Boland. In recent years, he has run the Rugby Performance Centre (RPC) in Riebeek West in the Western Cape.