Jacques Nienaber was named as the new Springbok coach as part of a revised coaching panel, that will report directly to Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s director of rugby.
Nienaber was promoted from an assistant coach’s role to carry the day-to-day responsibility while Erasmus will continue to direct strategy in a tweaking of a panel that is heavily accented on continuity.
The 47-year-old Nienaber said: “This is a massive honour and responsibility, but I think I have a good understanding of what it entails, especially in this new structure.
“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," he added.
Mzwandile Stick has been reappointed as an assistant coach while in an innovative inclusion, Felix Jones will continue but in a new role as a European-based coaching consultant.
There are two new appointments with Deon Davids appointed forwards coach while Daan Human – the Vodacom Bulls’ scrum coach – takes up the same role with the Springboks on a shared basis.
The panel was approved by the Executive Council in December.
“The coaching team has undergone a refresh but there is a strong theme of continuity and succession planning,” said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO.
“The recommendation of the Director of Rugby was unanimously accepted as it strongly accented those aspects.
“Rassie will remain the director of Springbok affairs but this is a deserved opportunity for Jacques to come out of the shadows and provide Test experience to Daan and Deon.
“We are defending the Castle Lager Rugby Championship title in 2020 and are already looking forward to the visit of the British & Irish Lions in just over 18 months’ time so there is no let-up for the team.”
The Springboks play their first match as reigning Rugby World Cup champions against Scotland on Saturday, 4 July (venue to be confirmed).
Springbok coaching team:
- Rassie Erasmus – Director of Rugby
- Jacques Nienaber – Head coach
- Mzwandile Stick – Assistant coach
- Deon Davids – Assistant coach
- Felix Jones – Assistant coach
- Daan Human – Scrum consultant