Home Sport Rassie signs new Bok deal with Duane among new coaches

Rassie signs new Bok deal with Duane among new coaches

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SA Rugby confirmed on Tuesday that the former loose forward will return to his old job of being in charge of the day-to-day responsibilities of the world champions until 2027.

South Africa’s head coach Rassie Erasmus. Picture: CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU, AFP

Rassie Erasmus says the main difference between his previous role as the director of rugby and becoming the Springboks’ head coach again will be about being “more hands-on at the field sessions”.

SA Rugby confirmed on Tuesday that the former loose forward will return to his old job of being in charge of the day-to-day responsibilities of the world champions until 2027, while also announcing the recruitment of retired No.8 Duane Vermeulen, former All Black flyhalf Tony Brown and ex-Ireland hooker Jerry Flannery as new faces in the team management.

Brown will take charge of the attack and Flannery the defence to replace Jacques Nienaber and Felix Jones. Vermeulen – who was in talks with the Stormers recently about a coaching role following his retirement – has been handed a “roving coaching role” with all SA national teams.

He will also be the third member of the mobi-coaching unit alongside Junior Springbok coach Bafana Nhleko and Franzel September, who is the assistant coach of the Springbok Women’s team.

The new blood in the Bok ranks doesn’t end there, as renowned referee Jaco Peyper – who retired recently following a serious Achilles injury at the World Cup – will be part of the set-up as a national laws advisor, having been in charge of 67 Test matches.

The rest of the coaching group already included assistant coaches Mzwandile Stick, Deon Davids and Daan Human, and head of athletic performance, Andy Edwards. For Erasmus – who is still recovering in hospital from burns suffered in a recent accident – it is an exciting time as he gears up for July’s two-Test series against Ireland.

“It is a massive honour to coach the Springboks, and I am grateful for the trust placed in me,” the 51-year-old said.

“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. We already had our first coaching session this week at the hospital, and it’s great to see the enthusiasm among the coaches to get the season under way.”

The Boks’ first Test against Ireland will take place on July 6 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, with the second game a week later at Kings Park in Durban – although there have been unconfirmed reports of a late June encounter against Wales at Twickenham.

Portugal will lie in wait for the Boks in Bloemfontein on July 20, and then it’s on to the Rugby Championship against Australia, New Zealand and Argentina.

“One of our key pillars in the last few years was building player depth, and we are excited about the talent available to us this season,” Erasmus said. “Most of the 2023 World Cup-winning players are still available for selection, and several young players now have the luxury of international and World Cup experience, which is invaluable at Test level.”

On Vermeulen’s journey from player to coach, SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said: “Duane has tremendous experience as a player, and will take that IP (intellectual property) into the coaching teams of our other national teams to give them an insight into what it takes to be a champion team.

“It also allows us to extend our own coaching base from within the ranks of the Springboks with an eye to the future.”

Ashfak Mohamed

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