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Springboks unveil 2020 coaching ticket

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New Springboks coach announcement accompanied by backroom reshuffle

Jacques Nienaber was named as new Springboks coach on Friday as part of a revised coaching panel that will report directly to Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s director of rugby.

Nienaber is promoted from an assistant coach’s role to carry the day-to-day responsibility while Erasmus – who coached the side to recent World Cup glory in Japan – will continue to direct strategy following the tweaking of a panel heavily accented on continuity.

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 Bulls scrum coach – takes up the same role with the Springboks on a shared basis.

“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 following the announcement that the 47-year-old he worked with at Munster prior to the Springboks has been promoted. 

(Continue reading below…)

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“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.

“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 said: “This is a massive honour and responsibility, but 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 will 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.”

Meanwhile, Erasmus thanked the departing forwards coach, Matt Proudfoot, for his work with the team over the past four years as the only departing member of the coaching team. “Matt did a brilliant job with our pack and I’d like to thank him from me, the team and SA Rugby,” said Erasmus.

Davids, 51, graduates after a tough apprenticeship as head coach of the Southern Kings, firstly in Super Rugby (2016-17) and then in Guinness PRO14 until parting company with the team at the completion of last season.

Human, 43, the former Springbok front ranker, will continue to work as the scrum coach of the Bulls during the Super Rugby season but will join the Springboks during the Test windows.

Stick, 35, retains his place in the coaching team as an assistant coach with special responsibility for skills while the highly-rated Jones (32) – who was a last-minute appointment on the eve of the World Cup – will be based in Europe to improve communication and alignment to address the reality of the number of South African players based on that continent.

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.”

The Springboks play their first match as reigning World Cup champions against Scotland on July 4 at a South African venue to be confirmed.

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New Springboks coach announcement accompanied by backroom reshuffle
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