From playing rugby in Bloem to coaching water polo to coaching rugby at Rondebosch High, Ikeys head coach Christiaan Esterhuizen has had quite the experience over the years. Having taken over from Hanyani Shimange after the conclusion of the 2016 instalment of the FNB Varsity Cup, Esterhuizen has seen his side put on some exceptional performances thus far.
“I’m from Bloemfontein, so I learnt how to play rugby there. I have played rugby for Kovsies during my time studying at the University of Free State,” Esterhuizen said. “I moved to Cape Town in 2003 and that’s when I started playing for UCT. It exceeded my expectations; it had the best vibe and was a great experience.”
Now only thirty-six years of age, Esterhuizen is currently working as a Director at Atvantage Procurement. He and his wife, Joanne, have a fifteen-month old boy named Henry.
Esterhuizen started coaching water polo after he finished school, and started coaching rugby straight after that. “I’ve always coached. I coached any team I could get my hands on really,” he said. Before coaching at UCT, Esterhuizen coached at Rondebosch Boys High School.
It was in 2011 that he started coaching at the University of Cape Town, and he recalls some of his most memorable moments. “When I first started, I took over the u20 C team in the second half of their season. They really were a special bunch of oaks, and it was great that we managed to turn the season around,” he said.
“In 2015, we did really well with the Young Guns side as well. I remember beating Maties at Danie Craven in the Varsity Cup,” Esterhuizen added.
Throughout his coaching journey, coach Esterhuizen has maintained that coaching is not a one-dimensional responsibility. “Coaching is also more about the mental side of things. Especially when you’re working with younger guys, you’re helping them mould their life. So it’s not just about their playing skills, but their life skills as well,” he concluded.