Rugby: Jacques Nienaber replaces Rassie Erasmus as Springboks coach

Jacques Nienaber has been confirmed as the new head coach of Rugby World Cup winners South Africa, replacing mentor Rassie Erasmus.

South African Rugby has confirmed the previous assistant coach will take daily responsibility from Erasmus, who will focus on strategy and retain a "hands-on" approach to the team.

"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," said Erasmus said.

"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."

Nienaber has been the front runner for the job, since Erasmus announced he would step down as coach after the World Cup.

The pair met in the South African army and have worked together previously with the Stormers in Super Rugby, as well as at Munster in Ireland. Nienaber was praised for tightening up the Springboks defence for their World Cup triumph.

"This is a massive honour and responsibility, but I think I have a good understanding of what it entails, especially in this new structure," Nienaber said.

"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. 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," he added.

Mzwandile Stick has been reappointed as assistant coach, while former Ireland international Felix Jones will remain with the team, but in a new role as European-based coaching consultant "to improve communication and alignment to address the reality of the number of South African players based on that continent".

Deon Davids has been appointed forwards coach, taking over from Matt Proudfoot, who left for England, while former Bok prop Daan Human will act as scrum coach.

Nienaber's first matches in charge will be two tests against Scotland and one against Georgia at home in July.

Reuters

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