NEWSFLASH: Bok coach Jacques Nienaber to step down after World Cup regardless of tournament outcome

NEWSFLASH: Bok coach Jacques Nienaber to step down after World Cup regardless of tournament outcome

Bok coach Jacques Nienaber will leave his post after Rugby World Cup 2023, regardless of South Africa’s tournament outcome in France later this year.

Nienaber did not seek to renew his South African contract, despite being offered new terms, and will move on. He will join Irish giants Leinster in Ireland,following the World Cup.

There he will replace Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster next season.

Nienaber, 50, has been involved with Springbok rugby on-and-off as a defence consultant since 2011. In 2018 he was officially named an assistant coach, and in 2020 he was formally appointed as head coach.

Daily Maverick understands that current assistant coaches Mzwandile Stick and Deon Davids have both renewed their contracts until 2027, while director of rugby Rassie Erasmus is still under contract until 2025. 

At this stage it appears that Erasmus will stay on, although he and Nienaber have worked as a duo for more than 20 years. Nienaber’s venture to another coaching role in the northern hemisphere without Erasmus, could mark the first time the pair have not coached together.

Nienaber celebrates with Damian Willemse after their 27-13 win over England at Twickenham on 26 November, 2022. (Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images).

Speculation about Erasmus?

There is some speculation though that Erasmus could also be on his way to Leinster in a director of rugby role.

Nienaber cited personal reasons for the decision, but said his focus remained on the major task of the year, which was to “give everything” in the Springboks’ defence of their Rugby World Cup title.

Read more in Daily Maverick: The commendable madness in ‘disruptor’ Bok coach Nienaber’s method

“The last few years have been the highlight of my coaching career and it’s with a heavy heart that I’m finishing up my time with the Springboks and leaving the country for personal reasons,” said Nienaber in a statement.

“The decision is made and that’s firmly behind me now. My sole focus is on seeing the Springboks defend the Rugby World Cup title this year. I will continue to channel all my energy into ensuring that we leave no stone unturned to achieve that.”

Rian Oberholzer, SA Rugby CEO, said: “Jacques was very open with us about the reasons for wanting to leave South Africa at the end of the season. We will confirm a successor in the title role of Springbok coach in due course – that planning will go on in the background, but Rassie Erasmus’ services are locked in to the end of 2025 at the very least.” 

No indication of a replacement was given but Stick, who has been in the Bok system for six years, is the most likely successor within the current system.

Bok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick is one of the candidates to replace Nienaber in 2024. (Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile/Gallo Images)

Leinster’s L

…. to be continued
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