Jacques Nienaber, 47, has been appointed as the new head coach of World Cup winners, the Springboks which is a huge elevation from his role as defence coach, taking over long-time friend Rassie Erasmus.
Erasmus reverts to his position as Director of SA Rugby and the new coach will report directly to the world cup winning mentor.
The appointment comes as the world champions are now turning their attention to the British and Irish Lions tour in 2021 after their success in Japan.
Erasmus and Nienaber have a long history, having first met in the army before crossing paths at the University of the Free State’s Shimlas team where Nienaber was the physiotherapist and Erasmus the captain.
When Erasmus became coach of the Free State Cheetahs, he appointed Nienaber as strength and conditioning coach, with the latter later shifting his focus to the team’s defensive structures.
South Africa’s World Cup win was built on a staunch defensive structure and for that Nienaber deserves credit.
By Gerald Dandah