Former Bulls and Springbok rugby player, Heini Adams, has been selected to be the assistant coach for the French Barbarians in their match against the Springboks in June. He is the first foreigner to take up this position and it is the second time he was selected. He assisted the Barbarians in their game against Australia which they won 19 to Australia’s 11.
Born and bred in Worcester (South Africa), Heini began his career in the Boland province before making his debut at the SWD Eagles for two seasons. He was then selected to play for the Blue Bulls in 2005 as a scrum-half and remained with the team for 6 seasons. Known for his anticipation in defense and quick distribution of the ball from behind the scrum, he contributed significantly to the Bulls winning three Currie Cups and two Super Rugby titles. He was key to the Bulls winning their first Super Rugby title in 2007, when he threw the last pass to Bryan Habana to score the winning try.
After leaving the Blue Bulls in 2010, he moved to France where he joined the 2nd division French Rugby Union club, the Bordeaux-Begles. During his first season, he was instrumental in the club’s promotion to the French Top 14 and its subsequent automatic entry into the European Challenge. In 2012 and 2013, he was selected to play for the French Barbarians against Japan and Samoa respectively, helping the Barbarians win both matches. He was also selected for the Barbarians in 2015 where he was the designated Captain. They played 2 games against Argentina, winning the first game but losing the second.
Although he wanted to play more rugby, he decided to retire in 2016 at the age of 35 after suffering repeated cases of concussions. He was then selected to be part of the Bordeaux youth coaching staff while also helping the first-team scrumhalves. He was also offered a contract to play for another club, but declined the offer.
Heini is the typical family man. When he is not on the field, he spends time with his wife, Lynn, and their 3 kids. They love traveling and have already been all over Europe. When it comes to his career, every decision he has taken has been about what is best for his family, and moving to France was no exception. After spending a number of years in France, his wife and kids are fluent in French but Heini admits that he still struggles with the language.
Heini also comes back home every off season so that he and Lynn can visit their parents. They also try to help out in the community which includes getting involved in community projects and providing financial assistance where necessary. In 2012, Heini took his love for his community one step further by launching the Foundation Heini Adams in Worcester. One of the foundations initiatives is to hold rugby days where schools within Worcester comes together to play against each other. Heini then chooses the best player for each school to form a team that would play against overseas teams. This year, Heini chose 17 players and they were flown to France to play against the local teams.
Heini is now focused on building his career as a coach in France and helping his community through his foundation. Hopefully, we will see him back in South Africa, coaching a South African side to Super Rugby glory.