Rassie Erasmus says incoming Springbok consultant Felix Jones will focus on analysing opposition defences during the upcoming World Cup.
SA Rugby confirmed on Wednesday that ex-Ireland international Jones will join the squad in Japan on a short-term consultancy, filling a vacancy left by Swys de Bruin.
While De Bruin had the task of implementing the Bok’ attacking structures, it was confirmed that Jones would instead take on a different role as requested by the players, focusing on ‘defensive patterns and structures’.
In the final Springbok press conference before the team departs for the World Cup, Erasmus provided further clarity on what Jones’ role in the coaching unit would be.
‘I must apologise for the way I had phrased the press release, if it came across that he was going to be a defence consultant,’ Erasmus said. ‘He is actually going to analyse the opposition defence structures. His job would be to look at the opposition defence, how they defend and where the weaknesses in their defence are and where we can attack.
‘When I discussed it with the players in Bloemfontein, we felt our attacking structures are in place. In the final two Test matches of the Rugby Championship, myself and [Mzwandile] Stick coached the attack with the players.
‘The players felt that if we had somebody who especially knows the Northern Hemisphere teams really well, like Ireland and Scotland, who we could face in the playoffs, or get somebody who could analyse their defensive systems and we could make the plans ourselves. So he would be another pair of eyes.’
Jones had previously worked with Erasmus at Munster for two years before the latter took up the job as Springbok coach and SA Rugby director of rugby. Erasmus reportedly contacted Jones last year, but he was still contracted with Munster at the time. His contract with the Pro14 has since expired.
‘He was the attacking coach there and we had a 83% win record we really attacked well,’ Erasmus added. ‘He is a good attack coach anyway. I know him. We don’t have to convince him of how we want to play. He will slot in well with the boys.’
Jones, 32, won 13 caps for Ireland at fullback or wing during a 10-year playing career with Leinster and Munster. He was part of Ireland’s 2015 Six Nations title-winning squad and also represented his country at the Sevens Rugby World Cup in 2009.
He stopped playing at the age of 28 and went straight into coaching with his last province, Munster, where he helped the team to three consecutive Heineken Cup semi-finals before leaving the province earlier this year.
In 2017 he was as an assistant coach to the Irish national coaching team for their summer tour.
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