Wynberg Boys’ High and Gus Leslie have sadly announced a mutual parting of ways this week. This year marked the 10th year of Gus’s involvement at Wynberg. During this time, he revolutionised the way that the school approached coaching and playing the game.
He arrived in 2006 – charged with the daunting job of “getting Wynberg rugby right” as Wynberg rugby had slipped out of the top 100 ranking in South Africa. Gus, dived straight into the job – summarily taking over the 15A AND 16A coaching jobs. Uncompromising in training, fastidious in his preparation, principled and passionate beyond belief, Gus soon began to see improved results with both his 2009 and 2012 first teams achieving top 10 rankings.
Today, all top school rugby teams gym and get physically conditioned. Gus was arguably the first coach in Cape Town to do it. No stranger to the gym himself, he believed the only way that an institution, which did not buy players or offer scholarships could survive and compete was to be better prepared and conditioned. This became a hallmark of his tenure. The result was achieving the almost unthinkable in 2012 when his 1xv achieved the first and only Headmaster’s Grand slam. His crowning achievement at Wynberg was being the only First Team coach to beat Paarl Gym and Grey away from home with the Grey win being the first in our history.
As an age group coach, Gus achieved a record number of Grand and Headmasters Grand Slams with four consecutive wins against Grey, and initiated the squad system and rotation of coaches. He also introduced and implemented Video Analysis to his teams after a short coaching stint in Japan. The impact that he has had on younger coaches will ensure that his legacy is not forgotten at Wynberg.
A larger than life character, his departure from rugby leaves a massive hole. His role as a friend and mentor to his players, both on and off the field will continue to have an impact on a generation of Wynberg men. We look forward to his future in involvement at Wynberg.
Gus has been a loyal servant to Wynberg and a friend to his boys and many staff. He will be missed. We wish Craig Childs success as he takes over the role of head coach.
Mr Jan de Waal, Headmaster Wynberg Boys’ High School