JOHANNESBURG – South Africa has added former Ireland international Felix Jones to the coaching team for the Rugby World Cup in Japan, the national rugby body announced Wednesday.
His surname will excite superstitious South African supporters as Australian Eddie Jones was a Springbok assistant coach when they last won the tournament 12 years ago.
The Irishman will act as defense consultant during the September 20-November 2 World Cup, filling a vacancy created when attack coach Swys de Bruin withdrew for medical reasons several weeks ago.
Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus said the squad preferred to have a defense coach, believing an attack coach could introduce new ideas and sow confusion.
“I spoke to the players after Swys decided to step down and the consensus was that we did not want a new attack coach,” said Erasmus.
“But they were interested in having more analysis of defensive patterns and structures to assist in breaking down opponents.”
Jones, 32, won 13 caps for Ireland at fullback or wing during a 10-year playing career with the Leinster and Munster provincial teams.
After retiring four years ago, he became part of the Munster coaching staff and also worked briefly as an assistant coach of Ireland.
Other Springbok assistant coaches include former Scotland forward Matthew Proudfoot and ex-South Africa sevens star Mzwandile Stick.
South Africa is in Pool B at the World Cup with defending champion New Zealand, Canada, Italy and Namibia.
The Springboks and All Blacks are expected to fill the top two positions in the final standings and secure quarterfinal places.