According to South African newspaper Rapport and journalist Hendrik Cronjé, Springbok scrum coach Matt Proudfoot is set to join Eddie Jones and John Mitchell as part of England‘s new-look coaching staff.
Neal Hatley, England’s former scrum coach, left the Rugby Football Union (RFU) after the 2019 Rugby World Cup in order to take up the role of defence and forwards coach at Bath, the club that he coached at prior to joining the England set-up in 2016. As for Proudfoot, his contract with South Africa Rugby Union (SARU) expired after the recent Rugby World Cup and with England reportedly ready to swoop, it looks like that will be the end of his three-year stint with the Boks.
Proudfoot’s credentials will still be vividly in Jones’ and England’s minds, after they were given a torrid time in the scrum in the Rugby World Cup final, as Tendai Mtawarira and Frans Malherbe took apart the English front row. England had, admittedly, lost Kyle Sinckler to injury early in the game, although it was still a dominant and impressive performance from the South African tight five.
The 47-year-old Proudfoot made a name for himself as a coach at Western Province and the Stormers, where he helped oversee the development of players such as Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff, before a short stint with the Kobelco Steelers in Japan that was sandwiched between the Stormers and his time with the Springboks. He is one of the leading set-piece coaches in world rugby and would help refine England in one of the areas they came badly unstuck in during the showpiece event last month.
If the South African’s arrival is confirmed, England will still have their attack coach vacancy to fill, with Scott Wisemantel having left the RFU following the Rugby World Cup. In addition to that, Steve Borthwick, England’s current forwards coach, is set to leave after the Guinness Six Nations in order to take up a role with Leicester Tigers in the Gallagher Premiership. Unless Proudfoot’s remit is to extend beyond the scrum, England will also need to hire a new forwards coach.
RugbyPass understand that Borthwick could be released sooner than that, though it would be dependent on England finding a suitable replacement for him prior to the Six Nations.
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