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South Side Irish Banking on Van Rensburg

Thursday Aug 27, 2009 in Amateur Competitions Division II Clubs

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The South Side Irish club of Chicago have signed on former Super 12 professional Shawn Van Rensburg as the club’s new head coach.

Van Rensburg has spent the last three seasons as player-coach for the Durban Harlequins in South Africa, and has a long professional rugby career as a loose forward that included the Natal Sharks, Neath, Bridgend, the Newport Gwent Dragons and Toulon.

Irish director of rugby Bill Morrison was thrilled with the signing.

“The Irish have had a cadre of Old Boys and player/coaches that have taken turns coaching the club over the past half dozen years or so and they have produced amazing results, including promotion to DI and an Elite Eight finish in the 2008 National Championships,” Morrison said.  “We now believe we need to bring in someone with a fresh approach to take us to the next level.  Shawn’s hiring should add some much needed stability and continuity to the head coach role, and his past experience as a high level player should be a boon to our recruiting efforts.”

The South Side Irish RFC was founded in 1975 and has competed nationally at both the Division I and Division II level.  Most recently the Irish finished in the top eight at the 2008 DI National Championship.  Last season they faltered somewhat, going 2-4 in league play and finishing last in their conference and dropping back down to DII.

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