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Friday, January 06, 2006


Super 14: Laurie's a Cat again

Source: Sunday News

Laurie Mains will add to his legend this week when he rejoins the coaching staff of a South African Super 14 franchise.

The former All Blacks coach left for Johannesburg this week as he prepares to take up a mentoring role for first-time Cats coach Frans Ludeke.

"It's a massive coup for us," Cats manager Mac Hendriks told Sunday News.

"Laurie Mains is one of the greatest coaches in the history of rugby.

"His experience at the highest level and his ability to get the best out of people will be invaluable.

"Laurie Mains is the perfect fit for Frans and the Cats."

Mains will spend next week in the republic helping Ludeke plan for the big kick-off to the inagural Super 14 on February 25.

And he will be "on call" to the Cats coaching staff throughout the tournament.

"Frans is someone who isn't afraid to surround himself with experience," Hendriks said.

"Too many coaches think they know it all. But we know the value of Laurie is too high to ignore."

Mains' reintroduction to top flight rugby comes less than three months after a scathing attack on him in the biography of Highlanders and All Blacks hooker Anton Oliver.

Other former Highlanders took shots at Mains from his time in charge at the franchise in 2002 and 2003.

But Hendriks laughed off Oliver's attack on the man who guided the All Blacks to the World Cup final in 1995.

"Just because certain people don't know the value of Laurie Mains doesn't mean we don't," he said.

"Laurie Mains in one of the best coaches in rugby anywhere in the world.

"What has been written means nothing to us.

"His record speaks for itself.

"Rugby is a sport where people aren't always going to get along with each other.

"Anton has chosen to attack him. That's not something I can comment on other than to say his thoughts certainly aren't reflected here."

Mains booked his place in Cats folklore when he guided them to successive Super 12 semifinals in 2000 and 2001.

In 1999, before he took the reins, the Cats had finished 11th.

Sunday News
Well, as long as he keeps "Suzie" away from the Cats...
I suppose bringing him back can only help the Cats, and good for Ludeke not acting like a mister know it all.
At least Mains has an impressive CV, which is more than we can say about some of our S14 coaches.
Yes you have scored very well in getting Laurie to make the long trip to SA - of course, he's married to a Seffrican.

I agree that Laurie is one of the very best Coaches in the business, but one should remember that he's an "old" timer Coach, ie, he doesn't want anyone else's opinion other than his own.

Right now he is probably more attuned to SA style rugby as he's very definitely a "forwards" man. Providing the players have enough will power to stay the distance, Laurie will improve their game considerably,


I agree 100% with your assessment on Mains, however, I believe this was a masterstroke from the Cats management.

As much as Laurie is a forwards man, Ludeke is not.

I get the feeling that Ludeke's greatest asset lies in his "man mangement", not coaching. It has been proven with some questionable positional selection during the Lions' 2005 Currie Cup campaign especially in the forwards, which in a lot of people's views, cost them a place in the final.

For Ludeke to get Mains on board is the best thing he could have done, he now has:

Coetzee - Springbok backline coach
Mac Hendricks - Also part of the Springbok setup
Mains - Former AB coach that knows the setup with the Cats and as you pointed out, a forwards man.

Taking into consideration that 5 of the 7 Cats backline players are first choice Springboks, 3 of whom, (January, Pretorius & Fourie) are first choice and 2 (Jantjes & Julies) are fringe players, having Coetzee there is brilliant.

In my mind there is no doubt that the Cats strength is in their backline, and if there is a potential weakness, it will be in the forwards.

I mentioned in a piece I wrote if the forwards can secure 85% of their own ball and be competitive if not threatning on the oppositions ball, they will do damn well.

If Mains manages to do this, the Cats will surprise a lot of teams this year.

Also, you might not know this guy, unless you followed U/19 and U/21 rugby, but Earl Rose is also a Cat now, he has been included in the squad and I get a feeling he will form part of their campaign this year. Watch out for this guy.
Welcome back Laurie.

He had Tim Lane (also former Bok backline coach) as his assitent when the Cats went to the semis twice. The symbolic augurs well for the Cats.

Thanks Patrick.
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