SARU reaffirmed its support for Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, as it announced their coaching and management staff.
Former Springbok Franco Smith was confirmed as a new member of the Springbok coaching team among a number of adjustments. A major new defensive coach will be confirmed once contractual details are finalised.
“Our coaching review was focused on the Springboks and we identified two areas to give Allister Coetzee additional support at the head of our most prized national asset,” said SA Rugby president, Mr Mark Alexander.
“Franco Smith will continue the work he began with the backs and attack at the end of last year while we are very excited about the new defensive coach we have identified to address matters raised during the review. We expect to be able to confirm that appointment shortly.
“I would like to apologise to our supporters for the delay in this announcement but assure them that it was necessitated not by a lack of clarity of intent, but by the need to first resolve all contractual issues. The outcomes we now have were agreed with Allister some weeks ago.”
Meanwhile, Johan Ackermann, will continue as coach of the SA ‘A’ team for the two match-tour of a French Barbarians team in June while Chean Roux, who won the Varsity Cup three times as coach of Maties, has been appointed as head coach of the Junior Springbok team, after a four-year stint with the Springboks.
Roux will be assisted by Mzwandile Stick, who will take up the role as backline coach with the Junior Springboks. Stick was also earmarked to become assistant coach of the Springbok Sevens team but he has requested to remain in 15-a-side coaching and given further opportunities in that format.
Mr Alexander thanked Franco Smith for answering the call of the Springboks. He explained that Smith would continue as head coach of the Cheetahs in Super Rugby (in 2017, 2018 and 2019) but be otherwise fully engaged on Springbok duty.
“Last year was an incredibly tough one for the Springboks and all of the rugby community suffered,” said Alexander.
“We weighed many factors in the review process but we believe that these changes will strengthen the Springbok management hand.
“The new alignment at both a coaching and conditioning level with the franchises will also provide critical support to the national team. That process continued recently with our third coaches’ indaba and another is already scheduled for later in Super Rugby when the coaches will come together for a third time to discuss our on-field approach. The conditioning coaches are also reconvening on the same day.
“I’d like to thank and commend all the Super Rugby coaches once again for buying in to what we want to do and for putting Springbok needs at the forefront of their thinking.”