Springboks squad in a huddle during training camp in Pretoria Photo SA Rugby website Springbok

The Springboks squad in a huddle. Photo: SA Rugby website.

After Rassie & Jacques, this is who should coach Springboks next

The Springboks won’t have to look far and wide when the time comes to look beyond Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber for a head coach.

Springboks squad in a huddle during training camp in Pretoria Photo SA Rugby website Springbok

The Springboks squad in a huddle. Photo: SA Rugby website.

Since 2018, Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber have been in the ‘top job’ positions for the Springboks, taking the team to new heights.

Erasmus, of course, initially served as the head coach as the Springboks went on to claim a third world title at the 2019 global showpiece in Japan. The 51-year-old then stepped into a new role as director of rugby, while Nienaber took over as head coach, which has included leading the side to a series win over the British & Irish Lions in 2021 and a second successive world title.

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After the 2023 World Cup, the duo have been involved with the Springboks for a taxing six-year period, and Nienaber is now taking up a position in Leinster’s coaching ranks in Ireland.

Meanwhile, Rassie Erasmus is set to take over as head coach again, with his current deal with SA Rugby running through to 2025.

Whether Erasmus remains with the Springboks all the way through to 2027 still remains to be seen, while there is also speculation that Nienaber could be roped back in once his contract with Leinster comes to an end in June 2026.

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Whatever the case may be, SA Rugby will have already begun to consider their succession planning, and who should be the next head coach if a change is required in the lead up to the next global showpiece.

THE SPRINGBOKS HAVE AN OPTION TO PROMOTE FROM WITHIN

Within the current South African setup, though, assistant coach Mzwandile Stick has worked alongside Erasmus and Nienaber for the better part of the last five years.

By all accounts, he has grown immeasurably as a coach during this time, going from strength to strength in terms of his overall contribution to the team.  

Stick is an extremely popular figure with the players, but he is also a man of strong convictions, capable of cracking the whip when necessary.

The 39-year-old was once viewed as the scapegoat during the initial unsuccessful Allister Coetzee tenure, but Erasmus knew that Stick could add great value when he welcomed him back into the national coaching setup from 2018.

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Stick has gained invaluable experience in the Bok management, and is incredibly familiar with the system, culture and nuances of the Springboks team and within South African rugby.

To once again promote from within the Springboks coaching setup would represent calm and clear-minded thinking, and duly reward Stick for his progression as highly-regarded coach who boasts all the necessary attributes to take on this challenging job.

The former sevens star really should be the next in line, while it would stand to reason that he could be ably supported by someone like Stormers coach John Dobson, who should be brought in as an assistant coach and groomed to be the next Springbok coach after Stick.

Ultimately, when looking to the future, the Springboks should be able to rest calmly in the knowledge that when considering who should be the next head coach, they really won’t have to look too far.

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Mzwandile Stick with Siya Kolisi. Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images