Rassie Erasmus will lead what is set to be an ‘internal’ appointment of the next Springboks coach to replace Jacques Nienaber.
Last weekend it was revealed that current Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber will vacate his post after the 2023 World Cup.
Nienaber cited personal reasons for the decision, but said his focus remained on the major task of the year, which was to give everything in the Springboks’ defence of their Rugby World Cup title.
Understandably, plenty of attention has turned to the candidates who could take over from Nienaber, with current assistant coaches Mzwandile Stick and Deon Davids believed to be the frontrunners. Stormers boss John Dobson would be a popular choice among many players, while Junior Springboks coach Bafana Nhleko is a possible wild card pick.
According to Rapport newspaper, director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will play a key role in guiding SA Rugby on who to appoint as the next head coach.
“We will be led by the director of rugby (Erasmus),” stated SA Rugby’s acting CEO Rian Oberholzer. “Thanks to succession planning, Jacques was appointed from within [SA Rugby’s] structures. We believe this is the correct way to go forward.”
As implied in that quote, Oberholzer confirmed that SA Rugby is not looking at an overseas coach.
Speaking to Media24 last week, SA Rugby president Marx Alexander also provided further background into the organisation’s planning.
“It’s no crisis because it’s not like we are now forced to hire somebody tomorrow. There is no rush,” said Alexander. “We’ve got succession planning that has been in place for a long time. We must look at that succession plan and all the other things we need to do.
“Some coaches have come a long way with us and have walked the walk with us. People always criticise South African Rugby for not planning, but we are planning. We have systems in place, and we know where we’re going. The trouble is that everybody wants to know who [is next].”
THE SPRINGBOKS WILL SOON RETURN TO ACTION
The Springboks kick off the international season against Australia in Pretoria on Saturday, 8 July, in the opening round of the shortened Castle Lager Rugby Championship, which will be followed by clashes against New Zealand at the Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland a week later, and Argentina in Johannesburg on Saturday, 29 July – their final match on home soil for the year.
The Boks will then make the journey to Buenos Aires in August to take on the Pumas before facing Wales and the All Blacks in Rugby World Cup warm-up matches in Cardiff and London in the final build-up to the international showpiece in France.
South Africa will launch their Rugby World Cup title defence on Sunday, 10 September, against Scotland in Marseille, which will be followed by pool matches against Romania in Bordeaux (17 September), Ireland in Paris (23 September) and Tonga in Marseille (1 October).
The Rugby World Cup quarter-finals will be played on the weekend of 14/15 October, with the semi-finals on 20/21 October and the final on Saturday, 28 October.