Mike Bayly has been named as Rugby School’s new Director of Rugby.
The 51-year-old South African and former Currie Cup coach was up against a strong international field of candidates all keen to head up the game at the very place it was created.
A former professional rugby player for both Western Province Rugby and Boland Rugby, playing 33 matches for each, Mike also coached the Boland Currie Cup team for two seasons.
His rugby career included two seasons as Head Coach at Rovigo, Italy, before spending seven years with Heyneke Meyer building the Bulls from a struggling franchise to become Super Rugby Champions. During his time they won the Vodacom Cup in 2001, reached five Currie Cup Finals in a row, celebrated three wins in a row, made it through to two Super Rugby semi-finals in 2005 and 2006, finally winning the Super Rugby Championship in 2007.
Mike began his teaching career at the school he once attended, Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town, before taking up Rugby professionally.
He coached at both Reddam and at Paarl Boys High, when he was a specialist skills and backs coach, before returning to Bishops as rugby consultant four years ago.
“When I heard Rugby School was looking for a Director of Rugby, that was just an incredible opportunity,” said Mike.
“I felt it would be an honour and a privilege to coach the sport at the very place it was invented.
“I have always enjoyed coaching schoolboy rugby. Less pressure and extremely rewarding, it’s all about the boys’ growth and development and most importantly, they must enjoy it.
“For me, the game needs to be exciting, fast-paced running rugby and that is what I am looking forward to encouraging here.”
Head Master of Rugby School, Peter Green, said the arrival of Mike hailed a new era of the game of rugby at the School.
“We had an astonishing number of high level national and international coaches apply for this new Director of Rugby position,” he said.
“To coach the game at Rugby School itself is a unique opportunity and the huge benefit of this is that we now have a top level, professional coach heading up the sport here.
“As Mike says, it’s ultimately about enjoying the game and every level of player here will be coached by him, not just the firsts and seconds. No-one is left on the bench and that applies to all sport played here, part of our whole person whole point ethos,” he added.
Mike’s wife and his two children, aged 15 and 17, are currently staying in South Africa to continue their education. His son is at Bishops, while his daughter is currently studying A Levels at Bishops’ sister school, Herschel.