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20 October 2020 | Story Tom Ferreira and Jóhann Thormählen | Photo Blue Bulls Company
Pote Human.

The former Free State forward and coach, Pote Human, is coming back ‘home’. He has been appointed as the new FNB Shimlas head coach for the 2021 Varsity Cup competition and will be in charge of the rugby team for the second time.
According to Human, he has always had a ‘soft spot’ for the Free State, where he coached at club, university, and provincial level.

The experienced coach, who coached the Bulls Super Rugby team in 2019 and 2020, will already be at the University of the Free State (UFS) on 2 November 2020 to start preparing the FNB Shimlas for the Varsity Cup. He takes over from the former Springbok flank, Hendro Scholtz, who is no longer available as head coach due to work pressure. Scholtz will continue to be a FNB Shimlas assistant coach.

Free State ties 

Human, who has a long association with Free State rugby, has been involved as a coach with teams such as the Bulls, Griquas, Tuks, and the Ricoh Black Rams in Japan.

He says he is very excited about the new challenge. “Bloemfontein has wonderful people and the FNB Shimlas have a great management team. I have known Jaco (Swanepoel), who coached my son Gerhard at Grey College, since my years as Shimla coach.”

The former loose forward coached the Shimlas from 2000 to 2004. “I am particularly proud that the Shimlas won the FNB Super Bowl tournament (similar to the Varsity Cup), the Bloemfontein club championship trophy (Stadsbeker), and the National Club Championships in 2004.

“Several of the young men who played for Shimlas at the time, including Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthrö Steenkamp, CJ van der Linde, Ruan Pienaar, and Wian du Preez, later became Springboks.”

Human was replaced by the former Bok coach Jake White as the Bulls head coach in May. The Bulls, under Human’s leadership, finished as the leading South African team on the log in Super Rugby in 2019, and advanced to the quarterfinals.

A seasoned coach

He will now give back where it all started. Human played two matches for the Free State senior team in 1979 as an U19 player, and again played for the province from 1989 to 1993 – a total of 82 matches, 64 of them as captain. He also played 116 games for Eastern Province.

His coaching career began in 1994 as forwards coach for the Free State under the late Nelie Smith.
The Free Staters reached the Currie Cup final that year, where they lost to the then Transvaal in Bloemfontein. Human then coached the Police Rugby Club in Bloemfontein before joining the Shimlas in 2000.

“Pote is a seasoned coach who will bring something new to the team,” says Swanepoel, Head of Rugby Coaching and High-Performance Sports at the UFS. “As a former Shimla coach, he also knows the culture of the team. The UFS FNB Young Guns was the leading team in the Varsity Cup for U20 teams this year, so there is ample talent for him to work with.”

An investment in the future 

Jerry Segwaba, President of the Free State Rugby Union, says Human’s appointment is an investment in the future. “The FNB Shimlas have always been an important link in the Free State rugby chain, which starts at schools and extends to university and club rugby to professional rugby.”

“Pote and his coaching team will play an important role in developing quality players for the Cheetahs’ senior teams. We welcome him back home and wish him all the best.”

Ryno Opperman, chairman of the board of the Free State Cheetahs, also has a high regard for him. Opperman played under Human as Free State captain.

“He is the right man at the right time for the job,” he says. “His appointment is a vote of confidence in the future of Free State rugby. The Free State Cheetahs are the Currie Cup champions and must keep on developing talent for the future.”
“It is encouraging to see players and coaches such as Pote, Ruan Pienaar, and Frans Steyn returning to their roots in the Free State.”

News Archive

Chemistry Department expands its international footprint
2015-10-14

Prof André Roodt

Prof André Roodt from the Department of Chemistry at the University of the Free State has returned from a research visit at the St Petersburg State University in Russia. The research he conducted at the St Petersburg State University is part of a bilateral collaboration agreement between the University of the Free State and St Petersburg State University.

As part of his visit to Russia (from 17 to 28 September 2015), Prof Roodt presented a seminar at St Petersburg State University, and a lecture at the conference titled: International conference on Organometallic and Coordination Chemistry: Achievements and Challenges.

One of the local Russian newspapers quoted Prof Roodt as “world-renowned expert in the study of chemical kinetics and mechanisms of chemical reactions”. His presentation: Are detailed reaction mechanisms really necessary in (applied) organometallic and coordination chemistry' attracted great interest from the St Petersburg chemists.

The bilateral agreement came to life a year ago when the St Petersburg State University chemists won a grant in a competition to create an international research group, the International Laboratory of Organometallic Chemistry. The Laboratory is headed by Prof Vadim Kukushkin of the St Petersburg State University.

In addition to the employees of St Petersburg University, the research group consists of researchers from Portugal, Finland, South Africa, and Azerbaijan. Together, these groups of scientists are working on the problem of non-reactive metal activation molecules. The main theme of the research laboratory is in the catalysis and activation of metal inert molecules which then undergo significant change, and become meaningful to people chemicals, such as drugs.

As part of this initiative, a bilateral collaboration agreement exists between the St Petersburg State University and the UFS (Russian Science Foundation grant 14-43-00017). Students from our university have visited and conducted research at the St Petersburg State University while some of their students visit and research reaction kinetics at the UFS.

Prof Roodt hosted Valeria Burianova, a student from the St Petersburg University. During her visit at the UFS, she learned about response kinetics. A UFS PhD student, Carla Pretorius, joined the group in Russia where she conducted research on the intermetallic rhodium-rhodium interactions for the formation of nano-wires and -plates, with applications in the micro-electronics industry, and a  potential for harvesting sun energy.

The UFS Department of Chemistry extended its international footprint further with three of its students, Mampotsu Tsosane, Petrus Mokolokolo, and Tom Kama, returning from Switzerland after a six-week research visit in the group of Prof Roger Alberto from the University of Zürich. In return, Prof Roodt hosted a Swiss PhD student, Angelo Frei from Zürich, and taught him more about reaction mechanisms.

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