Jake White believes Rassie Erasmus would benefit from having assistant coaches with head coach experience.
In his column for AllOutRugby.com, the 2007 World Cup-winning coach says that the three-coach method – successfully employed by the All Blacks – is the way forward.
‘At points during the period they won back-to-back World Cups, the All Blacks had Wayne Smith, Steve Hansen and Graham Henry in the same coaching box.’
‘Those guys weren’t just head coaches of three club sides, they were the best of the best. New Zealand headhunted three international coaches to sit in the box – Smith had been head coach of New Zealand, Hansen had coached Wales and Henry had coached Wales and the British & Irish Lions before heading up the All Blacks.’
White says that approach was also played a big part in the Springboks’ title-success at the 2007 World Cup and that it could again improve the national team’s chances in 2019.
‘I don’t have the perfect model, but the one with Wayne Smith, Steve Hansen and Graham Henry is the benchmark. In my time at the Boks, I had Gert Smal and Allister Coetzee who had been head coaches. And that’s why I got Eddie Jones to join us, because he’d been in the previous World Cup final. He’d been there and done it; it was a no-brainer.’
‘Sometimes, having an assistant who has been a head coach at a high level, one who understands the sum of all the parts, is more beneficial than an innovative, but inexperienced assistant. Often what happens in South Africa is you go from being an assistant coach at the Boks to being a Super Rugby franchise head coach, and it should probably be the other way round.
‘If South Africa was coached by Rassie, Heyneke Meyer and Nick Mallett, wouldn’t the Boks be in a better position to avoid speed bumps, and win next year’s World Cup?’ questioned White.