Rassie Erasmus is back at head coach and there's a replacement for Felix Jones
Rassie Erasmus will lead a new-look South Africa coaching team following the departures of Jacques Nienaber and Felix Jones in the aftermath of the Springboks’ successful Rugby World Cup defence in France last year.
Nienaber, who was the head coach as South Africa lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for a record fourth time, left for Leinster, while defence coach Felix Jones joined Steve Borthwick’s coaching team at England.
In the reshuffle, Erasmus will once again become the head coach, a position he held back in 2019, with former Ireland hooker and Harlequins assistant coach Jerry Flannery set to take over from Jones as the defence coach.
Former All Black fly-half Tony Brown has also come on board to lead the South African attack.
Erasmus, who is recovering after a freak accident left him with major chemical burns, thanked SA Rugby for continuing to trust him to lead the national team.
“It is a massive honour to coach the Springboks, and I am grateful for the trust placed in me,” said Erasmus. “The main difference between the last four years and this season is that I will be more hands-on at the field sessions.
“In my role as director of rugby in the last four years I continued to oversee the team structures and strategy in conjunction with Jacques and the other coaches, so it should be an easy transition back into the head coach role.”
Jerry Flannery joins Springboks coaches
Harlequins, who sit second behind Northampton Saints in the Gallagher Premiership after 12 games, confirmed that Flannery’s near four-year stay with the club would come to an end after the friendly against Munster on February 23 at the Stoop.
Flannery thanked Quins for their support and admitted the opportunity to link up with Erasmus at international level was too good to pass up.
“I have loved my time at Harlequins working alongside a talented young group of coaches and players,” Flannery told the club’s website.
“The opportunity to move into international rugby and to work alongside Rassie Erasmus again after our time at Munster was very appealing and I would like to thank Harlequins for supporting my desire to take up this opportunity to develop my career.
“I look forward to the next few weeks with Harlequins and a final home match at a sold-out Stoop in February.”
Former international referee Jaco Peyper has also joined the South Africa set-up as National Laws Advisor.
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