Rassie Erasmus is set to return as South Africa’s head coach for the foreseeable future, he confirmed to local media on Monday, reiterating his position when the team lifted the World Cup in 2019.
Jacques Nienaber guided the Springboks to their second successive World Cup victory this year but announced in April that he would be taking on a new role at Leinster after the tournament in France.
Meanwhile assistant coach Felix Jones will join Steve Borthwick’s England team.
After winning the World Cup as a coach four years ago, Erasmus took over as South Africa’s director of rugby.
However, his influence was not far from the team as the Springboks claimed their fourth ever World Cup title, beating New Zealand 12-11 in last month’s final.
South African newspaper Rapport said Erasmus confirmed he will take over Nienaber’s duties in order to challenge for an unprecedented third World Cup victory in 2027.
Erasmus is known in South Africa for his innovation, tactical intelligence and ability to get the better of the players at his disposal, but he has also brought controversy at times.
His video criticism of Australian referee Nic Berry after losing the first test of the 2021 series against the British and Irish Lions has earned him a long match ban from World Rugby.
Erasmus has also come under fire for social media posts criticizing his opponents.
What is not in question, however, is his ability to inspire the Springboks on and off the field when it matters most.
“Where Rassie is very good is looking at the cause of the problem and saying, ‘this is what we need to fix’,” former assistant coach Matt Proudfoot told Sport24.
“He is driven by that process; he does not sleep looking for that advantage. Rassie has a unique ability to see what is at the heart of the matter, what is the one thing that will make a difference.”
Assistant coaches Mzwandile Stick and Deon Davids, as well as scrum coach Daan Human, are expected to remain in their roles alongside head of athletics performance Andy Edwards.
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