World champion Springboks name Jacques Nienaber as new head coach

Jacques Nienaber had been named South Africa head coach after previously serving as physio and defence coach. Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images

SA Rugby have named former physio Jacques Nienaber as the Springboks' head coach, as well as a revamped coaching staff as they head into the new season.

The group will report to Rassie Erasmus, the former head coach and now Director of Rugby, who led the South Africa to the 2019 Rugby World Cup title in Japan last November.

Nienaber, who has been elevated from his position as defence coach, has been the front runner for the job since Erasmus announced after the World Cup that he would step down as coach.

The pair met in the South African army and have worked together previously at South African side the Stormers, as well as at Munster in Ireland. Nienaber was praised for tightening up the Bok defence ahead of their World Cup triumph.

"This is a massive honour and responsibility, but I think I have a good understanding of what it entails, especially in this new structure," Nienaber said.

"I've worked with Rassie in a coaching capacity for nearly two decades now and we have a very good idea of how each of us thinks and as I'll still be reporting to him our working relationship won't be changing.

"It's a big step-up for me in terms of carrying the day-to-day leadership role and there'll be other adjustments but in many ways it will also be business as usual.

"We've built up a good culture over the past two years and we'll simply be looking to extend that."

Mzwandile Stick has been reappointed as an assistant coach, while Felix Jones will remain on the panel as a consultant despite being based in Europe.

Deon Davids and former Boks front-rower Daan Human were added to the staff as forwards coaches.

"The coaching team has undergone a refresh but there is a strong theme of continuity and succession planning," SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said in a statement on Friday.

"Rassie will remain the director of Springbok affairs but this is a deserved opportunity for Jacques to come out of the shadows and provide Test experience to Daan and Deon.

"We are defending the Castle Lager Rugby Championship title in 2020 and are already looking forward to the visit of the British & Irish Lions in just over 18 months' time so there is no let-up for the team."

The Springboks play their first match as reigning Rugby World Cup champions against Scotland on July 4.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.