- Jacques Nienaber is joining Leinster after taking South Africa to World Cup glory
- Rassie Erasmus was head coach when the Springboks won it back in 2019
- Even after becoming director of rugby, his influence has remained on the team
Rassie Erasmus is returning as head coach of South Africa, he confirmed to local media on Sunday, returning to the role he held when the side won the World Cup in 2019 for the foreseeable future.
Jacques Nienaber guided the Springboks to their second successive World Cup triumph last month but had announced back in April that he would be taking a new role at Irish side Leinster after the tournament in France.
Assistant coach Felix Jones, meanwhile, will be joining Steve Borthwick’s England.
After lifting the World Cup as coach four years ago, Erasmus took the reins as South Africa’s director of rugby. He now returns to help prepare them for the 2027 World Cup as they eye a three-peat.
His influence, however, was never far from the team as the Springboks claimed a record fourth World Cup title, clinched with a 12-11 victory over New Zealand in last month’s final.
Rassie Erasmus (right) is returning as South Africa’s head coach, with Jacques Nienaber (left) joining Leinster after guiding the Springboks to World Cup glory last month in France
Erasmus, who won the World Cup in 2019 before becoming South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie, was banned by World Rugby in 2021 after he launched into an hour-long rant at the organisation and their referees as he dissected their first Test loss to the British and Irish Lions
South African newspaper Rapport said Erasmus has confirmed he will take over Nienaber’s duties with a view to challenging for an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup triumph in 2027.
Erasmus is revered in South Africa for his innovation, tactical acumen and ability to get the best out of the players at his disposal, but he has also courted controversy at times.
His video critique of Australian referee Nic Berry after losing the first test in the 2021 series against the British & Irish Lions earned him a lengthy match-day ban from World Rugby.
Erasmus has also come under fire for social media posts criticising opponents.
What is not in question, however, is his ability to galvanise the Springboks on and off the pitch when it matters most.
Erasmus responded to an anonymous account who had outlined ‘questionable calls’ in South Africa’s 22-17 loss to the Lions in the first Test
‘Where Rassie is very good is looking at the cause of the problem and saying, ‘this is what we need to fix’,’ former assistant coach Matt Proudfoot told Sport24.
‘He is driven by that process; he never sleeps looking for that advantage.
‘Rassie has a unique ability to see what is at the core of the matter, what is the one thing that is going to make a difference.’
Assistant coaches Mzwandile Stick and Deon Davids, as well as scrum coach Daan Human, are expected to remain in their roles along with head of athletic performance Andy Edwards.