Former Springboks back Ruan Pienaar could follow a similar career route to Rassie Erasmus as his playing career comes to a close.
Pienaar signed a contract extension with the Cheetahs last July, extending his career past his 40th birthday.
The 88-Test cap Springbok has long been tipped for a coaching role once he hangs up his boots. In fact, Ulster were keen for him to make the transition at the Irish province back in 2017 and again when he departed French club Montpellier in 2019.
However, he opted to extend his playing career and now looks set to retire at the end of the 2023/24 season.
Cheetahs job awaits
Last week, the Cheetahs confirmed to Afrikaans newspaper Rapport that Pienaar was being lined up for a coaching role in the side’s structures.
However, the paper now reports that the top decision-makers believe he could go straight into the head coach role.
This comes after Boland reportedly tabled an offer to current head coach Hawies Fourie to become their coach at the end of the season.
Fellow former Springbok Frans Steyn is currently the Cheetahs’ director of rugby and is in talks with Pienaar over his future after his playing career.
It is reported that Pienaar could be offered the attack coach role with the side if he is unwilling to jump straight into the top job.
Similar route to Rassie Erasmus
A jump straight to a head coach role for Pienaar would see him follow a similar route to current Springboks head coach Erasmus.
Erasmus announced his retirement in 2003 after his final year of Super Rugby with the Cats. The following year, he took over as the new Cheetahs head coach, helping the side reach the Currie Cup semi-finals in his first year in charge.
In his second year at the helm, the Cheetahs won the Currie Cup for the first time since 1976 and led the side in their debut Super Rugby season in 2006.
He would join Jake White’s coaching team as a consultant in 2007 and made the move to the Stormers, where he would remain until 2011 before again taking up a role in the South African Rugby Union structures.
After a stint in Ireland with Munster, Erasmus would return as director of rugby and head coach of the Springboks – leading the side to back-to-back Rugby World Cup titles.