Jacques Nienaber named new coach of world champion Springboks

Jacques Nienaber (Defence Coach) during the South African national rugby team announcement media conference at Keio Plaza Hotel on October 24, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan.
Jacques Nienaber (Defence Coach) during the South African national rugby team announcement media conference at Keio Plaza Hotel on October 24, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan.
Image: Juan Jose Gasparini/Gallo Images

Jacques Nienaber has been confirmed as the new head coach of World Cup winners the Springboks, South African Rugby confirmed on Friday.

Nienaber, 47, has been elevated from his role as defence coach and takes over from Rassie Erasmus, who reverts to his position of director of rugby but has said previously he will retain a “hands-on” approach to the team.

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.

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

The appointment of Nienaber, 47, underlines a commitment to continuity with the vastly experienced understudy to Erasmus promoted to the headline role, though the director of rugby would still carry the responsibility for Springbok performances.

“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.

“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 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.”

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

 

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