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Five coaches make WR shortlist

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Erasmus and Jones head shortlist for World Rugby's coach of the year award

Rassie Erasmus and Eddie Jones, respective coaches of World Cup finalists South Africa and England, have made the five-strong shortlist of nominees for the World Rugby coach of the year 2019 accolade.

The shortlist was selected by a panel comprising former international players Maggie Alphonsi, Brian O’Driscoll and Agustín Pichot, alongside former coaches Nick Mallett and Clive Woodward, the World Rugby coach of the year in 2003.

The winner will be announced at the World Rugby awards in Tokyo next Sunday.

World Rugby coach of the year shortlist

RASSIE ERASMUS (SOUTH AFRICA) 

It might not have been Rassie Erasmus’ intention to become Springboks head coach when he returned to South Africa but he has taken to the role with aplomb. An astute tactician, he has bonded the team together impressively and been rewarded with results. 

This year South Africa have won the Rugby Championship title and recovered from a pool stage defeat to the All Blacks to power into the World Cup final.

(Continue reading below…)

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WARREN GATLAND (WALES) 

In his twelfth and final year as Wales head coach, Warren Gatland has led his adopted nation to a Six Nations Grand Slam – the third of his reign, a first World Cup victory over Australia in 32 years and into the semi-finals of Japan 2019. 

Along the way, Wales briefly topped the World Rugby rankings for the first time. Injuries caught up with them in the last four against South Africa but that defeat does not detract from what has been a wonderful 12 months.

STEVE HANSEN (NEW ZEALAND) 

Another coach bowing out after RWC 2019, Steve Hansen – a four-time recipient of this award – has led New Zealand with distinction since succeeding Graham Henry following RWC 2011. 

This year, Hansen coached the All Blacks to a 17th successive Bledisloe Cup crown and impressive World Cup 2019 victories over both South Africa and Ireland before they ran into a formidable England performance in the semi-finals.

EDDIE JONES (ENGLAND) 

The recipient of this award in 2017, Eddie Jones urged his critics to judge him and his England team on World Cup 2019, and the Australian has proved true to his word. Signs of what was to come had appeared against Ireland in Dublin in February but it was in Japan that England came to the boil. 

Jones’ side swept into the RWC 2019 final with knockout wins over Australia and New Zealand – the first team to achieve that at a single tournament since South Africa lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in 1995.

JAMIE JOSEPH (JAPAN) 

Hosts Japan made history during World Cup 2019 as they qualified for the quarter-finals for the first time, winning plaudits and new fans along the way.

Jamie Joseph, their genial head coach, trusted in the skill of his players and the speed at which the Brave Blossoms played in victories against Ireland and Scotland will live long in the memory. Joseph also led Japan to a third Pacific Nations Cup title, raising the level of expectation on the host nation. 

Previous World Rugby Coach of the Year Award winners: 

2018 – Joe Schmidt (Ireland)

2017 – Eddie Jones (England)

2016 – Steve Hansen (New Zealand)

2015 – Michael Cheika (Australia)

2014 – Steve Hansen (New Zealand)

2013 – Steve Hansen (New Zealand)

2012 – Steve Hansen (New Zealand)

2011 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)

2010 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)

2009 – Declan Kidney (Ireland)

2008 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)

2007 – Jake White (South Africa)

2006 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)

2005 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)

2004 – Jake White (South Africa)

2003 – Clive Woodward (England)

2002 – Bernard Laporte (France)

2001 – Rod Macqueen (Australia)

WATCH: Cheslin Kolbe on the state of his ankle injury and the probable high ball tactics in Saturday’s World Cup final

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Erasmus and Jones head shortlist for World Rugby's coach of the year award