‘We need to evolve our game once more’ – Rassie Erasmus as new Bok coaches unveiled

David Skippers
Rassie Erasmus SA v Scotland 2021 - PA.jpg

Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus.

Newly appointed Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus has unveiled a re-purposed coaching and management staff as he begins preparations for his team’s 13-Test season during 2024 at the start of a new Rugby World Cup cycle.

Erasmus introduced the Boks’ two new coaches, Tony Brown (attack) and Jerry Flannery (defence), to the media in Cape Town while he also addressed the ever-evolving playing landscape.

“Tony and Jerry bring a fresh perspective from different rugby environments and it’s lekker to hear new voices on how we’ve been doing things and how we might do them in the future,” said Erasmus.

Time for change

“As we said before last year’s tournament, there was no way that we would be successful if we kept doing things in the same way.

“We need to evolve our game once more, as teams will definitely have looked at how we play, and how they think they can stop us.

“We’ve also had a close look at how we need to develop as a team and what the coaching and management groups need to look like to support the players.

“We wanted to bring in Nigel Owens last year as a Laws Adviser, but we’ve been able to do that with Jaco Peyper now that he has retired from active refereeing.

“The way the Laws are interpreted and blown is always evolving and we need expert insight so we can always stay on the right side of the Laws.”

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First taste

Flannery and Brown had their first formal taste of the Springbok environment at last week’s two-day alignment camp in Cape Town.

Brown, the former All Blacks fly-half and Japan assistant coach, is looking forward to his new challenge.

“It’s a privilege to be involved with the Springboks and to contribute to this great set-up,” he said. “It was exciting to meet the coaches and the players at the alignment camp last week, and to map out the plans for the season, so I’m really looking forward to this journey.

“There are immensely talented players in the country and my goal is to ensure that we can continue to bring the best out of them on the field.”

Flannery, a former Ireland hooker who also had coaching stints at Munster and Harlequins, echoed Brown’s sentiments.

“I’m honoured to be part of the Springbok coaching team,” he said. “I had the luxury of experiencing the environment for a short time during a training camp last season, and that gave me a taste of what to look forward to for the next few years.

Keen to impress

“Our first alignment camp went very well, and it was pleasing to see how well the coaches worked together and how receptive the players were to our way of doing things, and hopefully I can make a solid contribution as we look to build on what the team has achieved in the last few seasons.”

Erasmus has also brought in a performance analyst in Paddy Sullivan, who worked with the Boks as a consultant during the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. Sullivan has been a performance analyst for Top 14 outfit Montpelier for the last three seasons.

“We’ve reviewed what is takes to be at the cutting edge of the game and we’ve repurposed the management structure to put as much resource as we can into the technical side of the game,” said Erasmus.

“The players will continue to get the necessary off-field support, but we wanted to make sure that we had the right roles filled to make sure that the main thing stays the main thing.”

The Boks’ management team has been confirmed for 2024 and will have their first taste of Test action against Wales at Twickenham on June 22.

“This is a watershed year for South African rugby with the off-field developments that are being discussed and it’s our job to make sure that everything remains on track on the field,” said Erasmus.

“I’m excited about the coaching and management team we’ve put together and really looking forward to getting out there once again.”

Springboks management

Head coach: Rassie Erasmus
Team manager: Charles Wessels
Assistant coaches: Mzwandile Stick, Daan Human, Deon Davids, Tony Brown and Jerry Flannery
Head of athletic performance: Andy Edwards
Sport scientist: Sebastian Prim
Performance analyst: Paddy Sullivan
Technical analyst: Lindsay Weyer
Laws and discipline advisor: Jaco Peyper
Team doctor: Dr Jerome Lehlogonolo Mampane
Physiotherapists: Dr Aneurin Robyn and Rene Naylor
Logistics manager: JJ Fredericks
Operations manager: Zintsika Tashe
Media manager: Zeena Isaacs van Tonder

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