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31 July 2020
UWC appoints alumnus Paul Treu as its Head Coach: Rugby
Mr Treu is no stranger to the South African public after serving with distinction as the Head Coach of the Springbok Sevens, Head Coach of the Kenya Sevens, Defensive Coach of the Stormers and the Performance and Innovation Manager of the Western Province Rugby Football Union.

His most recent post was as High Performance 7s Consultant for the Japan Rugby Football Union, and he has worked with the likes of international coaches like Robbie Deans and Eddie Jones.

Mr Treu epitomises what UWC Sport is trying to achieve under the guidance of Director of Sport, Mr Mandla Gagayi. Mr Gagayi’s philosophy is to offer student athletes the best of both worlds with high-quality tertiary education and the opportunity to play sport at the highest levels. Mr Treu holds a Master's Degree in Sports Directorship from Manchester Metropolitan University, a Master's in Educational Psychology from the Nelson Mandela University, and an Honours in Education from the Stellenbosch University. 

But it was as an undergrad student at UWC where his formative years were shaped, graduating from the University in 1993 with a Higher Diploma in Education. During this time he developed a great affinity for UWC and its role in society. 

“I just want to thank everyone at the University of the Western Cape for appointing me as the head coach of the Varsity Cup team. I started my career at the University as a player and now I’m returning as a coach. I’m really excited to start working with the team and the staff and everyone at the University,” Mr Treu said.

UWC Rugby participates in the FNB Varsity Cup – South Africa’s premier university rugby competition. Mr Treu will succeed iconic former World Cup winning Springbok and UWC Head Coach and, Chester Williams, who passed away tragically in October last year. They considered each other close friends and peers and Mr Treu will be looking to carry on with the work Mr Williams had begun and which was carried through the disrupted 2020 competition by interim Head Coach and Assistant Coach, Mr Lionel Langenhoven.

“I regard myself as a dynamic, cutting edge leader with extensive experience in professional sport. I am exploring opportunities to team up with a high performance organisation that relies on innovation and critical thinking, which in turn, prioritises best practice methods to achieve their goal,” Mr Treu said during his interview for the UWC Head Coach: Rugby position.

“As a recent MSc graduate with Distinction in Sports Directorship, I offer a variety of skillsets to meet the increasing demands of elite sport and enthusiastically support the objectives of an organisation with an unwavering quest for excellence.

“I believe that the next generation in rugby will require even more innovative approaches to performance than ever before. As technology has become more pervasive and information more freely accessible, it is the ability to process, filter and commit to what is important in the ‘big data’ landscape that will set organisations apart. This is as true in sport as it is of any other industry.

“In this regard, the network alluded to previously, which I have access to through my international work and experiences and studies, as well as an ability to manage and interpret the details while retaining a clear vision of the ‘big picture’, are key competitive advantages that I believe I bring to this role.”

Mr Gagayi says of Mr Treu’s appointment: “Mr Treu’s appointment reinforces our strategy towards promotion of balance between academic and sport. It also reaffirms our commitment to the transformation of rugby as a sport where black coaches are usually overlooked or under-utilised.
“I want to take this opportunity to also thank interim coach, Mr Langenhoven, for ably guiding the University through a difficult Varsity Cup campaign after the sudden and painful loss of Coach Chester.”

UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, believes that universities are key in the development of the sportsmen and women of the future.

“Mr Treu is a shining example of what can be achieved when student athletes can create a balance between their careers in sport and their academic honours. We are pleased to have him on board and wish him all the best in his new role. He has an excellent track record having been in charge of very successful Springbok Sevens campaigns,” said Prof Pretorius.

“His appointment illustrates that we have to think about life beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. While we have to deal with the consequences of having to work from home, we must not become trapped by this reality, and his appointment shows we have an eye on the future.”