UCT new coach to add 'mind' to matter to break playoffs drought

FNB Varsity Cup

Two-time FNB Varsity Cup champions, FNB UCT Ikey Tigers have appointed Tom Dawson-Squibb as their new head coach for the 2020 Varsity Cup and league seasons.

Dawson-Squibb replaces Christiaan Esterhuizen who has been at the helm of the Ikey Tigers for three Varsity Cup campaigns (which have yielded 8th-, 6th and 5th-place finishes) but will continue to offer technical and recruitment support throughout the remainder of 2019, and into 2020. He also becomes the fifth man to be in charge at 'The Green Mile' during the Varsity Cup-era, following John Dobson (2008-10), Kevin Foote (2011-13), Kevin Musikanth (2014-15), Hanyani Shimange (2016) and Esterhuizen.

As it happens, Dawson-Squibb has an established history at UCT. He is a graduate of the university – having completing a Masters in Organisational Psychology – and has been involved with UCT Rugby for many years as a mental leadership coach and been the head coach for UCT’s U20As, both at a league and Varsity Cup Young Guns level.

UCT Rugby Club Director, Jonathan Biderman-Pam commented on the appointment of Dawson-Squibb: “It is fantastic and revolutionary to have Tom heading up our 2020 Varsity Cup and League campaigns; with his background in mental coaching – both here and overseas at a professional level – promising to offer us a unique competitive edge in next year’s competition.”

Dawson-Squibb's appointment sees UCT follow a unique approach considering his background. He has worked in leadership and performance for over 10 years (both in the business and sporting worlds). At the core of his work in this field has been enabling effective behaviours, growing leadership and helping teams become high-performing entities rather than just groups of individuals. 

This has also enabled him to work with a wide variety of teams across many sport disciplines, notably: The Stormers, Melbourne Rebels, SA Rugby, The Sharks, Western Province Rugby, Ajax Cape Town, SA Golf, University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University.

The Ikey Tigers last reached the Varsity Cup playoffs in 2015, so it will be interesting to see if their third coaching change since will bring back the glory days of 2011 and 2014.