- Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber said the early clarity about his future will allow him to focus fully on the World Cup.
- Nienaber will be departing for Irish giants Leinster after the World Cup, with a replacement for him to be sought afterwards.
- SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has made it clear that Nienaber’s replacement won’t be announced until after the World Cup.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber said the clarity around his exit at the end of the World Cup will allow him to focus squarely on his team’s title defence in France in four months.
Nienaber’s post-World Cup move to Leinster was announced by SA Rugby last month, with assistant coach Felix Jones also leaving the Boks after the tournament.
Nienaber said the fact that there was a sense of finality about his Bok future after the World Cup allows him to channel all his energies to deal with what will be a difficult World Cup Pool B that contains Ireland and Scotland.
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“My contract was finishing at the end of the year and the one thing that we wanted and discussed as management was to be open and honest with how things develop,” Nienaber said.
“For me at the moment, I’m glad that what’s done is done and everybody knows. I think that kind of frees you up to just focus on the World Cup.
“My family knows when and where we need to get a house, when to get the dog settled and all of that.
“It literally frees you up to put all your energy into Springbok rugby from now until the end of the World Cup.”
SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus made it clear that replacements for Nienaber and Jones would only be dealt with after the World Cup.
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The Boks’ back-room staff has also been given the security of contract extensions until 2027, meaning there are external and internal options.
Erasmus would not entertain opinions on current Bok No. 8 Duane Vermeulen getting a defensive coaching gig.
“I can’t tell who the replacements are, but we must have someone in as the Bok head coach and also filling in as the defence coach,” Erasmus said.
“The other coaches are fine for next year and quite settled in a lot of their areas, but we do have our eye on the structures and committee we must go through at SA Rugby, but we definitely have successions and plans in place.
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“I’m not going to start speculating with things now because we’re definitely not announcing until after the World Cup.
“It’s nice for people to discuss and one needs to remember that Duane is still playing. We want the build-up and past the World Cup to be everything, but we’re discussing that.
“We won’t announce before the World Cup, but we’ll do so after the World Cup.”