Bulls defence coach Joey Mongalo has been so engrossed in his studies that he has had little time to sit back and savour his Loftus “homecoming” as part of Jake White’s revival plans for the Pretoria side.

Mongalo‚ recently announced as a member of White’s senior coaching staff‚ is busy with assignments for his master’s degree in industrial psychology at the University of Pretoria and the deadlines are approaching.

“To be honest‚ I haven’t had time to digest this because I am busy with my studies at Tuks and I have been busy with assignments‚” said the 35-year-old former Pretoria Boys High School pupil. “My last assignment is due soon and I think once I have submitted that one‚ I will sit down and let the emotions and feelings settle down.”

Mongalo said he is grateful for the opportunity of returning to Pretoria where he first played professional rugby and lived for a long time.

“There is that coming back home feeling that is very comforting and it is good to see that a lot of people that were there while I was a player are still working there. So‚ seeing those faces again will bring back a lot of good memories‚” said Mongalo, who left Loftus more than 10 years ago.

Mongalo‚ who earned cult status at Pretoria Boys for scoring all 18 points when they defeated traditional rivals Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool (Affies) for the first time in 18 years in 2003‚ rejoins from the Lions where he learnt the ropes as a coach.

“I can’t quantify the amount that I learnt at the Lions where I coached at every level in the SA system from U19‚ U21‚ Vodacom Cup‚ Varsity Shield‚ Varsity Cup‚ Currie Cup and Super Rugby. The learning was immense ... 99% of it happened at the Lions.”

Mongalo added that he chose to study industrial psychology because there is a lot of synergy between technology‚ the corporate world and sport.

“The way talent management is done in the corporate sector is something that we can learn a lot from in the sporting sector. Regarding technology‚ the corporate sector is going into artificial intelligence to get a competitive advantage.”

Looking back to Pretoria Boys beating Affies‚ Mongalo said it is a fond memory. “I still remember that game very well because Affies were always beating us‚ so to contribute to defeating them at our school was very special. Pierre Spies was their captain and he went on to leave a legacy at the Bulls‚ and he was a phenomenal rugby player.

“I played junior rugby with him [Spies] and I also played cricket against the likes of Faf du Plessis‚ Heino Kuhn‚ AB de Villiers. I remember in one game against Affies‚ De Villiers scored 196 not out in his last matric game against us. It was very painful but at the same time a good learning experience.”

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