Rassie Erasmus named new Springbok coach

Rassie Erasmus takes over from Allister Coetzee whose contract with the South African Rugby Union was terminated in February.

FILE: Rassie Erasmus at the University of Limerick. Picture: Sportsfile via Getty Images

JOHANNESBURG - Rassie Erasmus has been announced as the new Springbok coach.

SA Rugby says 45-year-old Erasmus will spearhead a streamlined but experienced Springbok management team until the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The former Springbok captain will combine his Springbok coaching duties with his current role as director of tugby at SA Rugby.

He takes over from Allister Coetzee whose contract with the South African Rugby Union was terminated in February.

The former South African flanker earned 36 caps for the Springboks, making his debut in 1997 against the British and Irish Lions.

Erasmus returned to South Africa after coaching Irish side Munster where he was named coach of the year for the 2016/17 season. He also served as a technical advisor in the 2007 World Cup-winning side.

According to SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux, the changes to the Springbok management team are the result of a very thorough review process of the 2017 season.

Erasmus described his new appointment as a tremendous honour.

“It is a huge task to coach the Springboks and I am very privileged,” said Erasmus.

“I really believe we have the players and the rugby intellectual property to turn things around and to mount a serious challenge at next year’s Rugby World Cup.

“We have 18 tests and just under 600 days until Japan 2019 and although a lot of planning has already gone into our Rugby World Cup preparation, it is very important that we prepare thoroughly for the matches against Wales and England in June.”

Erasmus will be hoping to improve his team’s form before the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

His first test as coach will be against Wales on 2 June in Washington DC, followed by a three-test series against Eddie Jones’ England.

Erasmus will also be hoping for an improved Rugby Championship campaign which starts in August.

SA Rugby says his three assistant coaches will be Jacques Nienaber, Pieter de Villiers and Mzwandile Stick, while Aled Walters will join the management team as head of athletic performance.

Nienaber previously served as a Springbok defence coach for a short stint under Coetzee before joining Erasmus at Munster in 2016. De Villiers worked as scrum consultant under former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer from 2012 to 2015, while Stick was a member of the 2016 Springbok coaching staff before his involvement with the Junior Springboks last year. Walters, who has considerable international experience gained from working in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, joins the team from Irish side Munster, where he was their Head of Athletic Performance.