Rassie to retake role as Springboks coach
Jacques Nienaber heads to new role at Irish side Leinster
Rassie Erasmus is to return as head coach of SA for the foreseeable future, he confirmed to local media on Sunday, reprising the position he held when the side lifted the World Cup in 2019.
Jacques Nienaber guided the Springboks to their second successive World Cup triumph this year but had announced in April that he would be taking a new role at Irish side Leinster after the tournament in France.
Assistant coach Felix Jones, meanwhile, will be joining Steve Borthwick’s England set-up.
After lifting the World Cup as coach four years ago, Erasmus took the reins as SA’s director of rugby. His influence, however, was never far from the team as the Springboks claimed a record fourth World Cup title, clinched with a 12-11 victory over New Zealand in October’s final.
SA newspaper Rapport said Erasmus has confirmed he will take over Nienaber’s duties with a view to challenging for an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup triumph in 2027.
Erasmus is revered in SA for his innovation, tactical acumen and ability to get the best out of the players at his disposal, but he has also courted controversy at times.
His video critique of Australian referee Nic Berry after losing the first Test in the 2021 series against the British & Irish Lions earned him a lengthy match-day ban from World Rugby.
Erasmus has also come under fire for social media posts criticising opponents.
What is not in question, however, is his ability to galvanise the Springboks on and off the pitch when it matters most.
“Where Rassie is very good is looking at the cause of the problem and saying, ‘this is what we need to fix,” former assistant coach Matt Proudfoot told Sport24.
“He is driven by that process; he never sleeps looking for that advantage. Rassie has a unique ability to see what is at the core of the matter, what is the one thing that is going to make a difference.”
Assistant coaches Mzwandile Stick and Deon Davids, as well as scrum coach Daan Human, are expected to remain in their roles along with head of athletic performance Andy Edwards.