Nienaber confirmed as new Springbok coach

Nienaber confirmed as new Springbok coach

SA Rugby have finally confirmed that Jacques Nienaber is the new coach of the Springboks while reporting to director of rugby Rassie Erasmus.

Jacques Nienaber
Steve Haag Sports

Nienaber has been touted as a favourite for the role since the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup, having served as an assistant coach to Erasmus who had been in the head coach role for the past 18 months.

The pair have been working together in coaching teams for nearly two decades and have been friends since they joined the army back in the 1980s.

The appointment of Nienaber is a smart move as the Springboks look to maintain continuity having won the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Nienaber work as defence coach of the Springboks proved to be an invaluable part of the team’s successful campaign at the global showpiece.

The Springbok director of rugby said Nienaber’s appointment was a no-brainer given then long history together.

“Jacques is highly experienced and has worked with the Springboks on three separate occasions now so knows exactly what the job is about,” said Erasmus. 

“Jacques will be responsible for the Test match preparation and day-to-day team operations but, as the director of rugby, I will be with the team for the majority of the time and in the coaches’ box with Jacques at matches.”

Erasmus also confirmed that he will be ultimately be held accountable for the Springboks performances, but Nienaber’s move into the coaching role will allow him to oversee other aspects of rugby in South Africa.

“I’ll still be responsible for the strategy and results with Jacques taking operational control. The structure allows the director of rugby to spend more time on other aspects of the role,” said Erasmus.

Nienaber seems fairly calm about stepping into the hot seat and says he’s fairly certain of what will be required to keep the Springboks at the top of World Rugby. 

“This is a massive honour and responsibility, but I think I have a good understanding of what it entails, especially in this new structure,” said Nienaber. 

“I’ve worked with Rassie in a coaching capacity for nearly two decades now and we have a very good idea of how each of us thinks and as I’ll still be reporting to him our working relationship won’t be changing. 

“It’s a big step-up for me in terms of carrying the day-to-day leadership role and there’ll be other adjustments but in many ways it will also be business as usual. We’ve built up a good culture over the past two years and we’ll simply be looking to extend that.”

Erasmus has also confirmed the make-up of the rest of the Springbok coaching team.

Mzwandile Stick will continue as the Springboks backline coach while former Ireland fullback Felix Jones will take on a new role as European-based coaching consultant. He came in as a consultant during the Springboks’ World Cup campaign.

Deon Davids has taken over from outgoing forwards coach Matt Proudfoot. Meanwhile Bulls scrum coach Daan Human will perform the same role for the Springboks going forward for both teams.

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