Ex-Bok has eye on post

Manana on five-man shortlist to take up position as Eastern Province Rugby Union general manager

FAST AND FURIOUS Thando Manana in action as a Springbok.
FAST AND FURIOUS Thando Manana in action as a Springbok.
Image: Courtesy of Thando Manana

Fiery former Springbok flank and television and radio personality, Thando Manana, is on a five-man shortlist to become the new EP Rugby Union general manager.

After it was revealed on Thursday that former EP Currie Cup head coach Brent Janse van Rensburg, was on the list, Manana’s name has also emerged.A top-ranking EPRU official, who did not want to be named, confirmed Manana was one of the candidates for the high-profile job.

Known for being the third black South African Springbok player, an author, and a rugby commentator, Manana was also a contestant on the first season of Dancing with the Stars SA.This is not the first time that Manana has been linked to a high-profile EP position.

In 2016 Manana said he was ready to stand for the position of EP president, when there was turmoil in the union.

Manana played Currie Cup rugby for EP when they were known as the “Mighty Elephants” under Nelie Smith before he moved on to Griquas where he was recognised by the national selectors and toured the UK and Argentina with the Springboks.

He also earned seven caps for the Junior Springboks. Manana said a lack of top black sports stars recounting their compelling life stories had inspired him to write his autobiography, Being a Black Springbok.

“I was born in PE and it will always have a place in my heart. Also, we have produced and continue to produce rugby players,” he said.

Manana was the third black African player to don a Springbok jersey after unification in 1992, when he made his debut in 2000 in a tour game against Argentina A.

From his beginnings in New Brighton, Manana grew to become one of the grittiest loose-forwards of SA rugby, despite only starting the game at the age of 16.

His rise through rugby ranks, while earning a reputation as a tough-tackling lock and later openside flanker, was astonishingly rapid.

Within two years of picking up a rugby ball, he represented EP at Craven Week and by 2000 he was a Springbok.Another candidate, former Queen’s College Head of Rugby and Border Craven Week coach Janse van Rensburg, parted ways with the Pumas in August after leading the team to victory in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge.

Before coaching the Pumas, he was EP Currie Cup head coach in 2015, after he took over from New Zealander Carlos Spencer.

“Once the candidates have been endorsed the interview process will start. Nobody has been appointed yet,” EP Rugby president Andre Rademan said.

There will be no coaching involved in the general manager’s position, which is an administrative post.

During his time as Kings head coach, Janse van Rensburg was rated as a shrewd tactician who got the best out of his players.Since his departure from the Pumas, Janse van Rensburg has also been linked to a position at Paarl Boys High.

The new general manager of EP Rugby will have to perform, among others:l Oversee the development department in all aspects, including adhering to administratively sound development procedures being adhered to;lRevise existing structures within the development department, and introduction of new procedures and policies and procedures in collaboration with the executive;l Ensure sound procedures are in place and followed, and ensure discipline; if necessary; andl Manage the development programme.