Nhleko joins SA Rugby coaching ranks

Golden Lions U21 coach Bafana Nhleko has signed a four-year deal with SA Rugby that will see him continue in his role as Junior Boks assistant coach.

The 35-year-old, who has been in the Lions’ coaching structures since 2011, became the Junior Boks’ assistant coach earlier this year, in a dual role with the Golden Lions Rugby Union.

Nhleko’s Lions claimed an emphatic 58-24 win against the Blue Bulls in the U21 Championship final at Newlands last Saturday. It was their second victory in three seasons, after Nhleko steered the team to victory in his debut season in the role in 2016.

He also guided the union’s Rugby Challenge team to the semi-finals last year and the Lions U19 team to the final in 2013.

Nhleko was the union’s head coach in the Currie Cup qualifiers in 2016.

‘Bafana is a quality coach, who is respected by his peers and the players, and we are pleased that he has joined SA Rugby’s coaching ranks,’ said director of rugby Rassie Erasmus. ‘His success at the Golden Lions shows the calibre of coach he is, and we believe he will add immense value to our junior coaching structures.

‘The Junior Springboks’ results in the World Rugby U20 Championship served as testament to the formidable coaching team he formed with head coach Chean Roux, and we look forward to seeing them work closely together once again in the lead-up to the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina.’

Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images