Defence guru Jacques Nienaber is reportedly set to take over from Rassie Erasmus as head coach of the Springboks.
After his team’s sensational 32-12 victory over England in the World Cup final on Saturday, Erasmus confirmed it was his last game in charge of the Springboks. He will now focus exclusively on his role as SA Rugby director of rugby.
According to Netwerk24, Erasmus’ long-time friend, army buddy and colleague Nienaber is primed to take over as head coach.
The two men have been friends since their military conscription days in the early 1990s. They developed a strong working relationship in the ensuing years, with the physiotherapist-turned-defence coach serving as Erasmus’ right-hand man at the Free State Cheetahs, Stormers, Munster and eventually the Boks.
When probed about Nienaber’s potential promotion from assistant to head coach, No 8 Duane Vermeulen said it would be a fantastic appointment.
‘Jacques is a fantastic person. When I first met him, he was a physiotherapist and now he is the defence coach. I don’t know who is going to take over, but he would be a good replacement,’ Vermeulen said.
‘It’s nice to see someone who is part of the coaching set-up take the next step in their career … if it is going to be him. Jacques understands how we play and how we want to move forward as a team.’
Erasmus also lauded Nienaber’s contribution to the Boks’ revival.
‘I became a coach as soon as I stopped playing. I brought Jacques in as a conditioning coach right away. His passion, knowledge and work ethic around defence was evident even back then.
‘He’s very good with people and in terms of communicating what he wants. He gets the message across brilliantly.’
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