CAPE TOWN – The Springboks' coaching setup is expected to be in line for a complete shake-up as new South African director of rugby Rassie Erasmus completes the next phase of his turnaround plan.
Under coach Allister Coetzee, the Boks have managed a mere 11 wins from 25 Tests, while slipping back to sixth place in the world rankings, and it's believed that his fate will finally be sealed sooner than later.
Coetzee is reported to undergo a performance review on January 16, but this is widely believed to be a mere formality, with the Bok coach set to face the axe just two years into his four-year tenure.
Erasmus is set to head up the coaching group along with right-hand man Jacques Nienaber, while scrum guru Pieter de Villiers and former Munster fitness guru Aled Walters will have a role to play in the new management team.
According to rugby writer and former Western Province prop Tank Lanning, former Bok backline coach Mzwandile Stick could also be set for a return to the national setup, while he also suggested on Twitter that Kings coach Deon Davids was likely to be groomed for the top job after the 2019 World Cup.
Towards the end of last year, SA Rugby confirmed that no official announcement would be made on the Bok coaching group until due process had been followed, but changes are expected to be confirmed before the end of January.
However, at this time it's also worth keeping in mind the constitutional changes that were made towards the end of last year, which confirmed that the responsibility for the appointment or removal of the Springbok coach would be moved from the general to the executive council.
Previously, all 14 provincial presidents had the power to vote on whether to keep the Bok coach or not, but SA Rugby has moved to ‘streamline and speed up decision-making’ by re-shaping elements of the constitution.
As part of the changes, there was an increase in the make-up of the independent and player representation on the executive council to five independents, with six elected members.
Erasmus has already begun taking charge at SA Rugby's headquarters in Cape Town, and it seems certain that significant changes will be confirmed once due procedure has been followed.
African News Agency (ANA)