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World Rugby Talent Optimisation Programme

World Rugby has run a Talent Identification Programme (TIP) successfully at Stellenbosch University since 2007. In 2011, the programme became much more aligned with other World Rugby Training and Education courses and pathways and was rebranded as the World Rugby Talent Optimization Programme (TOP).

The TOP is aimed at coaches and match officials with significant experience and qualifications who are looking to optimize their talent in a high performance environment.

The programme is limited to 30 participants: 10 coaches; 10 match officials (of which up to three may be coaches of match officials) and 10 strength and conditioning coaches.

The TOP match officials class of 2013

Each day began with a trigger lecture from a renowned Rugby brain and then participants were split into pathway specific programmes. The programmes are very practical and participants get the opportunity to coach or officiate every day in the unique environment at Stellenbosch University. Whilst the programme is an information/professional development type course, each participant receives ongoing feedback and a detailed report at the end of the course.

The course is staffed by the following experts:

  • Steph Nel & Jacques Hanekom – Western Province Institute
  • Richie Dixon – World Rugby High Performance Consultant and ex-Scotland and Georgia coach
  • Tappe Henning – World Rugby Referee Selector
  • Bernd Gabbei – World Rugby Referee Development Consultant
  • Des Ryan – Head of Sports Medicine and Athletic Development with Arsenal Academy
  • Craig White – World Rugby Fitness Consultant

Guest presenters from previous years have included:

  • Jake White – Ex-South Africa coach
  • Brendan Ventner – Ex-Springbok and Saracens coach
  • Rassie Erasmus – Ex-Springbok and ex-Director of Coaching for Stormers
  • Professor Tim Noakes – Head of Sports Science Institute Cape Town and advisor to South Africa national team in 2007 and 2011
  • Gert Smal – Ireland forwards coach
  • Stephan du Toit – Stormers strength and conditioning coach
  • Alistair Coetzee – South Africa assistant coach in 2007
  • David Campese – Ex-Wallaby
  • Steve Walsh – World Rugby Panel Referee
  • Craig Joubert - World Rugby Panel Referee
  • Ross Tucker – University of Cape Town