Meander Chronicle Pop Up Office: The Farmers Daughter and the Rugby Coach

Meander Chronicle Pop Up Office:

The Farmers Daughter and the Rugby Coach

Lelo Gumede – barista at The Farmer’s Daughter Howick


There is a retired member of our staff, who lives in Howick, who must surely have the record of being a First XV coach with the highest number of players coached by him to go on and play international rugby – quite aside from the literal raft of other players who progressed on to Currie Cup, Super Rugby and French Top 14 Rugby.”…and that was the titbit The Meander Chronicle was thrown, for us to use, or not, for our rugby-crazed readers.

Irresistable really, and what a rewarding Midlands-rich chat and coffee at The Meander Chronicle’s Pop Up Office for the day – the Farmer’s Daughter in Howick, with the above-mentioned retired coach, Gavin Ross.

The team picture tells it all – between 1995 and 2010, Gavin Ross coached both the 1st XV and 2nd XV at Michaelhouse School. An inspirational number of these young players went on to play for their various countries/provinces: 1 Swaziland, 1 Tanzanian, 1 Zimbabwean, 2 Botswanan National players (who played at 2nd team level at MHS, in the 90’s), AS WELL AS 1 Welsh (an exchange student in 96, MHS Centenary year), 1 Blitzbok , 1 U20 World Cup winning Springbok, and 4 fully fledged Springboks (Pat Lambie, Patrick Cilliers(Gavin was coaching seconds), Ruan Combrinck, Ross Cronje)…

Gavin Ross – Coach, Science Teacher, rooted in the Midlands, resident in Howick
Fact Sheet:

Gavin Ross = Howick retiree with an exemplary Rugby Coaching record

1/School – Maritzburg College

2/ Bsc Honours Degree from UKZN (I was an old student he tells us)

3/ Started his teaching career at Howick High – 1985 to 1992

4/ Retired from Michaelhouse in 2014 after 23 years, and moved to Howick (to discover the joys of paying rates, electricity, Telkom)

5/ Has a daughter and a son, and a wife who loves the Midlands, and was delighted he didn’t take up a post in Pretoria during the course of his teaching career

6/ His point of view on his schoolboy rugby success: my most frequent call to the young players was always “play what’s in front of you”, and he adds when asked about how he achieved the success he didm “these young rugby players start with their coaching at 14 years of age, as they arrive at the school, and sometimes later. The preparation of these successes starts there – not just at the First and Second team stage”.

Back Row (L to R): Louis Albertse (Aix; EP Kings), James Winter, Chris Hallier, Xillen van Rooyen, Rhoan Potgieter, Ntsolo Setlaba, Grant Nel, Mark Richards (SA Sevens)
Middle Row (L to R): Pat Lambie (Springboks), Murray de Bruyn, Ruan Combrinck (Springboks), Nicholas Tatham, Ross Cronje (Springboks), Guy Cronje (Zimbabwe)
Front Row: Rory Sladden (pic supplied)