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News > Giving Back > OD Tank Lanning supporting his school through coaching.

OD Tank Lanning supporting his school through coaching.

ODs are actively involved in VUSA
17 Aug 2023
Giving Back


Class of 1989

Andrew “Tank” Lanning (1989S) is currently the Bishops scrum mentor across both the Prep and College, a position that sees him powering up the basics for the U9’s, while also taking charge of the 1st XV forwards.

Tank has a great deal of experience having - inter alia - coached UCT as their 1st XV and club scrum coach, which included making the final of the Varsity Cup, and winning the World University Cup.  His own career is as a rugby international. 

Tank is a Bishops boy having been at the College from 1984 - 1989 in School House, with the iconic Basil Bey as his rugby coach and Housemaster (today House Director).  He followed a broad education, in academics, extra-mural activities and got colours for many sports including rugby, water polo and athletics, and belonged to several co-curricular societies, including Debating and Viticulture. 

He was a Sacristan, and a House and School prefect in 1988 and 1989.  For me, this is the quintessential Renaissance person.  During the winter months one sees Tank coaching the scrums from the junior to the senior teams.  I was recently sent the clip for the forthcoming Vusa Challenge in September.  To my great surprise, there was Tank encouraging people to join up for the Vusa cycathlon! 

Just go down to the fields any coaching day and you will see this larger-than-life person coaching the scrums. 

Tank is one of many ODs who are giving back through the VUSA programme.  One of my tutees from 2013 to 2017 was one of Bishops' most talented ruby players Nick Koster (2007F) who recently passed away. He was also strong in academics and an exceptional leader.  I remain in touch with one of his Mentors, Rowan Kitt of Queen's and was extremely moved when I read the following note from him about Nick's involvement in VUSA:

"Nick was passionate about the positive impact rugby can have on young peoples' lives.  While studying Social Innovation at Cambridge, Nick wrote his Master's thesis on VUSA's work." 

The following was used to support fundraising by the University of Cambridge Union Rugby Football Club in honour of Nick, which aptly describes Vusa: 

VUSA provides a structured after-school programme for vulnerable children in Langa, an under-resourced community of Cape Town where substance abuse and crime is rife. VUSA uses rugby and education to address these issues early on in a child's life. It allows youth to release energy and build positive peer relationships. It teaches lessons about respect, punctuality, teamwork - skills which are critical and will benefit them through their lives. Rugby increases confidence, a lack of which creates a huge barrier for mental health issues. A digital English & Maths programme helps participants revise school curriculum content and progress at their own pace. 

I was a close family friend with Nick's father John Koster (1979F) and brother JP Koster (2004F).  I saw Nick and Jeanie several times whilst I was in Cambridge last year.  Nick invited me to some of the Cambridge rugby matches.  I was fortunate enough to be with him on the day he graduated with a Masters from Cambridge (Queen's College).  His tragic passing has left a deep impression on me.

The ODU can be extremely proud of its ODs and their selfless contributions to hugely worthwhile social programmes such as for Vusa and other organizations. 

Their enormous efforts are an incredible example of what active giving back looks like. 



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