Dr Pieter van den Berg says he always tries to be truthful, fair and objective with the players.

Dr Pieter van den Berg of the School of Human Movement Sciences says although success in the field depends on hard work, it also goes hand in hand with luck and opportunity.



Pieter, who trains the South African Student Sevens team, also coaches both the Luiperd’s Sevens and the NWU Sevens teams.


Coaching is his passion and an after-hours hobby that ties in well with his lecturing at the NWU. He is the programme leader and a lecturer in coaching science.


From classrooms to goal posts


After studying at the former Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, Pieter worked as a teacher in South Africa and abroad for four years. He returned to his alma mater – by then the merged NWU – as a lecturer in 2002.


His coaching career bloomed when he was appointed as the NWU’s Sevens’ coach in 2012 and they were crowned as that year’s runners-up at the Varsity Sport Sevens tournament.


He was then appointed as the Luiperds’ Sevens coach in 2013, with the team winning the national championship in Kimberley that year.


In 2014 they took second place in the international tournament in Zimbabwe, where only the Blitzbokke proved stronger in the finals. The Luiperds also won a silver medal at the 2014 national championships.


Recipe for rugby glory


Pieter’s philosophy is based on hard work, good preparation and mutual respect.


His advice to players is never to think you know everything.


“You might learn something valuable that you can use in your day-to-day life. It is important to remember that the most difficult person to beat is one who never gives up. Be that person, never throw in the towel.”

Dr Pieter van den Berg (with his back to the camera) in coaching action. He says it is important to keep in mind that there is a lot of talent in the world. “There are others who can coach just as effectively as me; this is why one has to realise that everything you achieve depends on luck and opportunity.”


Dr Pieter van den Berg (second from right) says his role model is the former head coach of the South African national team, Heyneke Meyer. He also cherishes the support of colleagues James Stoffberg and Mervyn Taylor who gave him the opportunity to coach the Sevens team.

Success in the world of rugby would, for some, be the ultimate reason to boast, but a lecturer who is now coaching the national University Sevens team believes it is important to stay modest.