Connect with us

International

Erasmus signed to 2027; Bok coaches confirmed

Published

on

Rassie Erasmus – the mastermind behind the Springboks’ back-to-back Rugby World Cup titles of 2019 and 2023 – has returned to the role of head coach for the next four years, following the departure of Jacques Nienaber to Leinster.

Erasmus, who coached the team in 2019 and was Director of Rugby four years later, will lead a modified coaching team in the absence of Nienaber and attack coach Felix Jones, who has left to join England.

Replacing them will be former Ireland hooker and Harlequins assistant coach Jerry Flannery, who will take charge of the team’s defence, and former All Black flyhalf Tony Brown, who served as an assistant coach for Japan from 2016 to the 2023 World Cup and was also the Highlanders head coach in 2017, 2021 and 2022. His focus will be on attack.

The duo will complete the Springbok coaching team which consists of Mzwandile Stick, Deon Davids and Daan Human, as well as Andy Edwards as Head of Athletic Performance, who were key coaching staff in 2023 and whose contracts were extended midway through 2023 until the conclusion of the 2027 World Cup in Australia.

Another exciting new addition to the Springbok team will see renowned international referee and four-time Outsurance Referee of the Year, Jaco Peyper – who recently announced his retirement from refereeing – join the team as National Laws Advisor.

Double RWC-winning Springbok eighthman, Duane Vermeulen, has also been appointed to a roving coaching role with all SA Rugby’s national teams, where he will become the third member of a mobi-coaching unit, joining forces with existing coaches, Franzel September and Bafana Nhleko.

Tony Brown.

Tony Brown.

SA Rugby President Mr Mark Alexander welcomed the appointments and said he was confident that they would add immense value to the team for their playing and coaching experience, under the guidance of Erasmus.

“We are delighted to announce that Rassie Erasmus will take over the reins as the Springbok head coach once again following his success with the team since 2018, and we believe that with the continuity in the coaching structures and the exciting additions, we are in good hands in the ultimate objective of claiming a hat-trick of World Cup titles,” said Mr Alexander.

“Tony Brown and Jerry Flannery are both former international players and bring fantastic coaching experience, and their skills will complement Mzwandile Stick, Deon Davids, and Daan Human.

“It is also a huge coup to have a world class referee in Jaco Peyper as a member of the management team and to retain his expertise in South African Rugby, as understanding the referees and their analysis of the laws is critical to any team’s success.

“We are excited about this Springbok coaching team, and we’ll be thrilled to see how the double World Champions perform once they return to the field for the first time since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in France last year.”

Jerry Flannery.

Jerry Flannery.

Mr Alexander also welcomed the appointment of Vermeulen: “Duane has tremendous experience as a player and will take that IP into the coaching teams of our other national teams to give them an insight into what it takes to be a champion team.

“It also allows us to extend our own coaching base from within the ranks of the Springboks with an eye to the future.”

Erasmus, who is recuperating from medical procedures after a freak accident, said he was thankful for the trust placed in him by SA Rugby’s leadership to steer the national team once again, and he was equally thrilled about the new appointments.

“It is a massive honour to coach the Springboks, and I am grateful for the trust placed in me,” said Erasmus. “The main difference between the last four years and this season is that I will be more hands-on at the field sessions.

“In my role as Director of Rugby in the last four years I continued to oversee the team structures and strategy in conjunction with Jacques and the other coaches, so it should be an easy transition back into the head coach role.

Jaco Peyper.

Jaco Peyper.

“We already had our first coaching session this week at the hospital, and it’s great to see the enthusiasm among the coaches to get the season underway.”

Erasmus was confident about the player depth available both for the Springboks, where several young players came through the ranks in the last few years to become key members of the 2023 team such as Manie Libbok and Kurt-Lee Arendse, and a number of players coming through at the provincial unions.

“One of our key pillars in the last few years was building player depth and we are excited about the talent available to us this season,” said Erasmus. “Most of the 2023 World Cup-winning players are still available for selection, and several young players now have the luxury of international and World Cup experience, which is invaluable at Test level.

“We have a challenging Test season ahead with a Test Series against Ireland on Saturday 6 and 13 July in Pretoria and Durban, and we face Portugal for the first time ever a week later in Bloemfontein in the Castle Lager Incoming Series.

“We then have an exciting Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign, which features two home tests against New Zealand on Saturday 31 August and 7 September in Johannesburg and Cape Town, before facing Argentina in Nelspruit on Saturday, 28 September.

Duane Vermeulen.

Duane Vermeulen.

“With the coaching team finalised, we can now focus on planning for the season and the next few years.”

Rian Oberholzer, CEO of SA Rugby, said that the role of Director of Rugby had been mothballed pending a restructuring of the rugby department of SA Rugby to meet the evolving high performance and participation needs of the sport.

The off-field management team will be announced following the team’s first alignment camp.

Springbok coaching team:
Rassie Erasmus – Head coach
Mzwandile Stick – Assistant coach
Deon Davids – Assistant coach
Daan Human – Assistant coach
Tony Brown – Assistant coach
Jerry Flannery – Assistant coach
Andy Edwards – Head of Athletic Performance

Fact files:

Tony Brown:
Date of birth: 17 January 1975
Place of Birth: Balclutha, New Zealand

Playing career:

  • 1999-2001: New Zealand (18 Test caps)
  • 1995-2004: Otago
  • 1996-2001: Highlanders
  • 2004-2011: Sanyo Wild Knights
  • 2006: Hollywoodbets Sharks
  • 2008: DHL Stormers

Coaching experience:

  • 2016-2023: Japan assistant coach (attack)
  • 2017, 2021-2022: Highlanders head coach
  • 2014-2016, 2020: Highlanders assistant coach (attack)
  • 2012-2014: Otago head coach
  • 2011-2012: Panasonic Wild Knights assistant coach
  • 2011: Otago assistant coach and player
  • 2006-2011: Sanyo assistant coach

Education:

  • Certificate in fitness management (University of Otago)

Jerry Flannery
Date of birth: 17 October 1978
Place of Birth: Galway, Ireland

Playing career:

  • 2005-2011: Ireland (41 Test caps)
  • 2001-2003: Connacht
  • 2003-2012: Munster
  • 2003: Ireland Development XV selection

Coaching experience:

  • 2020-2023: Harlequins defence and lineout coach
  • 2015-2019: Munster forwards coach
  • 2013-2015: Munster scrum coach

Education:

  • Stage 4 assistant coach (Irish Rugby Football Union)
  • Masters in Sports Performance (University of Limerick)
  • Certified strength and conditioning specialist (National Strength and Conditioning Association)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Geography (University College Cork)

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby


6 Nations

Wales team to face Ireland in Dublin named

Published

on

Senior men’s head coach Warren Gatland has named the Wales side to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the third round of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 24 February (KO 2.15pm live on ITV and S4C).

There is one change to the starting XV that played England at Twickenham on 10 February, with Sam Costelow returning for Wales at fly half.

Among the replacements back-row Mackenzie Martin is in line to win his first senior cap this weekend and would become the 1,200th Wales men’s international.

.

Tight-head prop Dillon Lewis would be making his first appearance of this Championship if called on from the bench.

Gatland said: “We are excited to go out to Dublin and test ourselves against one of the leading sides in world rugby. It’s a challenge we are relishing.

“We’ve made steps in the last couple of games and now it’s about building on that, learning from those experiences and taking that into this weekend.

“It’s about continuing to work hard, looking for accuracy in our performance across 80 minutes and also keeping our discipline.”

Wales senior men’s team to play Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the Guinness Six Nations, Saturday 24 February KO 2.15pm GMT. Live on ITV and S4C.
15. Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 56 caps)
13. George North (Ospreys – 119 caps)
12. Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 34 caps)
11. Rio Dyer (Dragons – 16 caps)
10. Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 9 caps)
9. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 55 caps)
1. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 27 caps)
2. Elliot Dee (Dragons – 48 caps)
3. Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby – 4 caps)
4. Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs – 14 caps) Captain / Capten
5. Adam Beard (Ospreys – 53 caps)
6. Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 15 caps)
8. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 45 caps)

Replacements

16. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 40 caps)
17. Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)
18. Dillon Lewis (Harlequins – 54 caps)
19. Will Rowlands (Racing 92 – 30 caps)
20. Mackenzie Martin (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
21. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 19 caps)
22. Ioan Lloyd (Scarlets – 4 caps)
23. Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)

Images & Content – Wales Rugby


Continue Reading

6 Nations

Jager and Ahern Join Ireland Squad Ahead Of Wales

Published

on

The Ireland squad re-assembled in Dublin on Sunday evening ahead of this weekend’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations Round 3 clash against Wales at Aviva Stadium (Kick-off 2.15pm).

Prop Oli Jager has joined the squad and Thomas Ahern has also linked up with Andy Farrell‘s side at the IRFU High Performance Centre this week.

Iain Henderson picked up a foot injury during Ulster’s URC game away to Ospreys on Sunday and there will be a further update later in the week.

The Ireland Match Day Squad to face Wales at Aviva Stadium will be named on Thursday at 2pm.

Ireland Squad – Wales Week: 

Backs (15):

Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht)
Harry Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster)
Jack Crowley (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Ciaran Frawley (UCD/Leinster)
Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster)
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
James Lowe (Leinster)
Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/Ulster)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Calvin Nash (Young Munster/Munster)
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster)
Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster)

Forwards (21):

Thomas Ahern (Shannon/Munster)*
Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster)
Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster)
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster)
Oli Jager (Munster)*
Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jeremy Loughman (Garryowen/Munster)
Joe McCarthy (Dublin University/Leinster)
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)(captain)
Tom O’Toole (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster)
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster)
Dan Sheehan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Tom Stewart (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Nick Timoney (Banbridge/Ulster)
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster)

*Denotes uncapped player

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


Continue Reading

6 Nations

O’Connell Gives Update On Keenan As Ireland Return To Training

Published

on

Hugo Keenan is Ireland’s main injury concern ahead of Saturday week’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations clash with Wales. The ever-influential full-back took a blow to his left knee during the win over Italy.

Keenan sustained the injury when falling awkwardly in a 52nd-minute tackle from Italian replacement Giosuè Zilocchi. He was replaced shortly afterwards by Harry Byrne, with Jack Crowley switching to the full-back position.

The 27-year-old Dubliner has become central to Andy Farrell’s plans in a short space of time, with his 15s international debut coming just over three years ago. He has accumulated more match minutes than any other player so far during Farrell’s coaching reign.

He has started 38 of Ireland’s last 42 Test matches, and Jimmy O’Brien and Michael Lowry are the only other players who have worn the number 15 jersey during that time.

Asked about Keenan’s likely availability for the third round of the Six Nations, Ireland forwards coach Paul O’Connell said: “Hugo didn’t train today, but he hasn’t been ruled out for the Welsh game yet.

“He’s progressing with his rehabilitation, he was there at training today and took part in the organisational bits, but I have no full update. He’s still available for selection for Wales, but I’m not sure what will happen in the next few days.

“He plays a big role, he’s obviously been injury-free for a long time. He’s an excellent player and in full-back, covering the back-field defensively, he has a lot of work to do in attack as well, recreating our attack by moving side to side.

“There’s a lot of IP (intellectual property) there that we might miss out on if he wasn’t playing. He also plays a big leadership role for us, he’s a very smart guy.

“He’s a problem-solver within the group and highly regarded within the group. Whether he’s there or not, he’ll continue to play that role.”

Keenan has had a strong start to the tournament, with his individual highlights including his try-saving tackles on Damian Penaud, including one which drove the French dangerman back a few feet, and an electric break against Italy from Craig Casey’s kick over the top.

He has an 85.7% tackle success rate, including two dominant hits and a turnover tackle. In attack, he has had gain-line success with two-thirds of his carries in the Championship, and has the team’s best tackle evasion rate of 47.1%.

If the Leinster star is ruled out when Ireland resume their campaign next week, the versatile Ciaran Frawley, Jordan Larmour, Jacob Stockdale, Calvin Nash, or indeed Crowley, could be options to fill the full-back berth.

Larmour, who returned to international action last Sunday for the first time since 2021, made nine starts at full-back between 2018 and 2020. Farrell handed him the number 15 shirt for his first game in charge of Ireland four years ago.

Last August against Italy, Frawley made his debut as a half-time replacement for O’Brien at full-back. He has started six times in the position for Leinster this season, with Stockdale, Nash and Crowley also having provincial experience in the back-field.

As O’Brien and Mack Hansen are also injury-enforced absentees, O’Connell admits that it could provide an opportunity to build more depth in that area if Keenan is unable to recover in time.

“It’s good for us in some ways because it makes us play someone else there if he doesn’t make it,” commented the Limerick man, who is in his fourth Men’s Six Nations campaign as part of the Ireland coaching group.

“I’m not sure yet, I don’t pay as much attention to the backs, but I’m not sure yet where  Hugo is at. As I said, he was around training today, so we’d be hopeful.”

Meanwhile, Garry Ringrose is on track to play some part against Wales at the Aviva Stadium having returned to training. He missed the opening two rounds due to a shoulder injury.

“Yeah it looks like it, he trained today,” O’Connell said of Ringrose. “We didn’t do a massive session today but he trained today and was in good shape.

“No one else sat out training, no, so they’re all good to go, I believe.”

That includes captain Peter O’Mahony (calf), Tadhg Furlong (calf), and Bundee Aki (knee), who all sat out the 36-0 bonus point victory over Italy as they recovered from their respective knocks.

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending