It has been three years since former Springbok flyhalf, Butch James was last seen playing professional rugby. Since then, James has been coaching young players at the Investec International Rugby Academy. We spent some time with Butch getting to know why he loves what we do at the Academy.
Butch began his professional rugby career in 1999 as a provincial player for the Sharks and the Natal Wildebeests. During this time, he also represented South Africa in the Rugby Championship tournament (formerly Tri-Nations) and was an IRB Rugby World Cup winner in 2007. Shortly after this achievement, Butch was offered a spot in England’s Bath rugby team in to play out the rest of his career. He, however, he returned in 2011 to play for the Golden Lions and, finally, returned to his home team, the Sharks, in 2013.
After Butch announced his retirement at the end of 2013, he joined Varsity Shield side, together with UKZN Impi’s head coach John Mitchell, as backline and kicking coach.
- While you were at school/ starting out your rugby career, how would attending a course like the Investec International Rugby Academy have benefited you?
Butch: “It would have helped so much to get the insight from experienced coaches, only after playing professionally for a few years do you learn some of the things you learn at the academy courses.”
- What do you look forward to most about being a part of the Investec International Rugby Academy?
Butch: “I love seeing how keen all the boys are to learn and to listen.”
- What is your favourite thing about coaching?
Butch: “The reward of seeing the boys implement what you have coached them, and the smile on their faces, when what you teach them improves their game.”
- Do you think that playing rugby is good for young boys regardless of whether they are interested in becoming a professional or not and why?
Butch: “Yes of course, I recommend any team sport as the lessons you learn from rugby and other team sports are needed for most things later in life.”
- Why should aspiring coaches and players enrol in the Investec International Rugby Academy?
Butch: “The best thing that the academy offers is the coaches they get on board, the amount of experience the group of coaches have is invaluable.”
- What are the fundamental aspects of being a well-rounded professional player?
Butch: “For me I think you need a good balance of rugby and down time, so when you training or playing you give it your all and when you away from the rugby field you can still have some fun and enjoy life.”
- Do you think rugby teaches skills beyond the field?
Butch: “Yes, being a team sport there are lots of skills to be learnt. Punctuality, discipline and doing your job in the team well, if all the positions in a rugby team do what is expected of them it’s hard to not be successful.”
- What is your most valuable lesson you learned being a part of the winning team in the 2007 World Cup?
Butch: “That if all 15 players work towards a common goal, it’s very hard to beat them.”