JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Ivan van Rooyen completed a 10-year journey through the ranks of the Lions on Wednesday after he was appointed head coach of the South African Super Rugby franchise.
The 37-year-old acted as caretaker when Swys de Bruin left the team midway through their series of away games in Australia and New Zealand earlier this year due to a stress-related illness.
De Bruin also quit the South Africa coaching staff before the Rugby World Cup in Japan and stood down from the Lions earlier this month.
Van Rooyen has worked on the coaching staff at the Lions for the last decade.
The former provincial player working with the juniors before moving up through the ranks to strength and conditioning duties, onto the coaching staff and eventually serving as de Bruin’s assistant in Super Rugby. He also took charge of the Lions in the domestic Currie Cup competition.
“We have the opportunity to create something very special. We have a young but dynamic team and a blank canvas,” Van Rooyen said in a statement issued by the Lions.
The Lions reached three successive Super Rugby finals in 2016, 2017 and 2018 but finished ninth in the overall standings this year, missing the playoffs.
Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Peter Rutherford