By Nic Darveniza
Standing just over six feet tall and weighing in at a muscle-bound 98 kilograms, one could be forgiven for mistaking David Jackman for a star player on the Kings’ College Rugby 10’s team to tour Hong Kong in April.
In fact, 24-year-old Jackman is their coach - but in no part any less a star.
A former President of the Kings’ College student council, Jackman has had his coaching career fast-tracked at the invitation of the Queensland Rugby Union.
He is just one step away from acquiring his Level Three coaching; joining an exclusive coaching club that would provide him the qualifications necessary to take over the Wallabies, if called upon.
For now, Jackman is content steering the Kings’ College Rugby Sevens team from tournament to tournament around Queensland, and to no small degree of success.
Educated at the Rugby Monastery of Durban High School in South Africa, Jackman moved to Australia in 2010 to study at the University of Queensland.
He found the difference in Rugby philosophies between his home and adopted nation striking.
“The South African game I grew up playing was dominated by contact; picking out weak defenders in the line and targeting that throughout the match,” Jackman said in an quiet but unmistakable Afrikaans-Queensland drawl.
“Grinding teams down until they quit.
“Coming to Australia I’ve found that their focus on attacking space, rather than individuals, can be combined with the South African style to great effect; this is what I hope to bring to the Kings’ side in Hong Kong."
Jackman’s rugby education spans further than just South Africa and Australia.
Stints playing professionally in Hong Kong and coaching in Argentina on exchange have taught Jackman much about finding the ideal game plan to utilise the strengths of different teams.
“Kings’ are very lucky to roll out effectively a Queensland Rugby all-star team in Hong Kong this April.
“Phil Potgieter, Campbell Wakely and Jack Cornelson represented Queensland Country last year in the National Rugby Championship, the Australian equivalent of the Currie Cup in South Africa or New Zealand’s ITM Cup.
“Their collective experience will be invaluable in the upcoming ten-a-side tournament that is littered with a number of past and present international players from across the world.”
Having star-power on the pitch doesn’t always translate to success, as the All Blacks could attest at a myriad of Rugby World Cups.
However, Graham Henry and Shag Hansen could also attest the impact of star-power on the sidelines in carrying talented teams the rest of the way.
“We’ll just have to see how we go,” Jackman trails off with a cheeky grin."You can only lead a horse so far."
The Kings’ College Rugby 10s squad departs for Hong Kong on April 1. Check out the tour website at www.sponsorakingsman.com