Springbok players petitioned for a defence consultant at the expense of an attack coach at the upcoming World Cup in Japan.
The Springboks suffered a blow when Swys de Bruin recently quit his role as an attack specialist due to ‘personal and medical reasons’.
On Wednesday, SA Rugby confirmed after much speculation that former Irish international Felix Jones will replace De Bruin on the technical team.
It is, however, not a like-for-like swap, with Jones coming in as defence consultant on a short-term basis whereas De Bruin operated as an attack specialist.
And, according to coach Rassis Erasmus, the appointment was requested by the Springbok players, who felt there needs to be greater emphasis on the team’s defensive structures than its attacking formations.
‘I spoke to the players after Swys decided to step down and the consensus was that we didn’t want a new attack coach,’ Erasmus said.
‘The feeling was that bringing in someone in that role now with new ideas would be destabilising at this last stage of the preparations. But they were interested in having more analysis of defensive patterns and structures to assist in breaking down the opposition.
‘Felix will bring a fresh eye to our analysis and planning and I am looking forward to his input. He is a real student of the game and I believe the players will benefit from his contribution.’
Jones has previously worked with Erasmus while at Munster.
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.
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix