PRETORIA – World champion South Africa on Friday named Jacques Nienaber as the new Springboks head coach, replacing Rassie Erasmus who led the squad to victory in the last Rugby World Cup.
“Jacques is highly experienced and has worked with the Springboks on three separate occasions now so knows exactly what the job is about,” said Erasmus in a statement.
While he has never played top-class rugby or coached any senior team, Nienaber played a crucial role as defense coach when the Springboks won the World Cup a record-equaling third time in November, beating England 32-12 in the final in Yokohama.
Starting out as a conditioning coach, the 47-year-old is credited for much of the Springboks’ tactical successes in the final.
“This is a massive honor and responsibility, but I think I have a good understanding of what it entails, especially in this new structure,” said Nienaber said.
The former physiotherapist had been punted as favorite to take over since Erasmus announced in October that he was stepping down from his role which began in 2018.
Erasmus will concentrate on his South African director of rugby role, which places him in charge of all national male and female teams.