Munster’s former Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, has been confirmed as the new South African coach. He will lead an experienced Springbok management team until the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, as the former Springbok captain will combine his Springbok coaching duties with his current role as Director of Rugby at SA Rugby.
Forty-five year-old Erasmus, winner of the Guinness PRO12 Coach of the Season Award in 2017, takes over South African coaching duties from Allister Coetzee, who had been in charge of the Boks for two years.
Erasmus’ three assistant coaches will be Jacques Nienaber (who was also his assistant coach at Munster), Pieter de Villiers and Mzwandile Stick, while Aled Walters will join the management team as Head of Athletic Performance (similar to the role he held at Munster).
In confirming the appointments, SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux, said:
“I believe that we have managed to assemble a strong and experienced Springbok coaching and management staff. We are looking forward to see improved performances this season.”
The first task awaiting Erasmus will be to prepare the Springboks for a once-off match against Wales in Washington DC and a tough three-Test Castle Lager Incoming Series against England, currently ranked number two in the world.
Eastern Cape-born Erasmus, who as Head Coach, previously led the Toyota Free State Cheetahs to their Currie Cup victory in 2005, rejoined the South African Union as Director of Rugby last November.
Commenting on his new appointment, Erasmus, who played 36 tests and three tour matches for the Springboks, described his new appointment as a tremendous honour, stating:
“It is a huge task to coach the Springboks and I am very privileged. I really believe we have the players and the rugby IP (intellectual property) to turn things around and to mount a serious challenge at next year’s Rugby World Cup.”
Johann van Graan, another South African, took charge of Munster following Erasmus’ departure in November 2017.