Jacques Nienaber to leave Springbok job after World Cup for Leinster

FILE - Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber. Photo: Ben Brady/INPHO/Shutterstock/BackpagePix

FILE - Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber. Photo: Ben Brady/INPHO/Shutterstock/BackpagePix

Published Apr 15, 2023


Cape Town — Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber will be stepping down as head coach of the South African national team later this year even if his side goes on to defend their World Cup title later this year in France.

SA Rugby announced on Saturday that Nienaber will take up a coaching role with Irish club rugby powerhouse Leinster after the Springboks conclude their World Cup campaign.

Nienaber was appointed in 2020 but had to wait a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic to field his first side against Georgia in 2021. He also took the Boks to a series win over the British and Irish Lions amongst other victories.

Nienaber is set to leave South Africa and cited personal reasons for his decision to quit the Boks.

The services of Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby's director of rugby, are locked in until 2025 at least which means the 2019 World Cup-winning Bok coach will continue in his role despite his right-hand man leaving later this year.

Nienaber said in a SA Rugby statement that his main focus will remain on the Springboks who have a big task ahead as they attempt to defend their title later this year.

The Boks face Scotland, Romania, Ireland and Tonga in the pool stages of the World Cup and start their campaign against the Scots on the 10th of September.

Nienaber has had mixed success with the Springboks but will be looking to sign off on a high note.

“The decision is made and that’s firmly behind me now," Nienaber said.

"My sole focus is on seeing the Springboks defend the Rugby World Cup title this year. I will continue to channel all my energy into ensuring that we leave no stone unturned to achieve that.

“The last few years have been the highlight of my coaching career and it’s with a heavy heart that I’m finishing up my time with the Springboks and leaving the country for personal reasons."

According to SA Rugby CEO Rian Oberholzer, Nienaber has been very open with them about his reasons for wanting to leave South Africa.

— Springboks (@Springboks) April 15, 2023

A successor for him will be confirmed in due course.

"That planning will go on in the background, but Rassie Erasmus’ services are locked in to the end of 2025 at the very least.”

SA Rugby President, Mark Alexander, said now is not the time for thank yous.

Especially with the big task ahead for Nienaber, his assistants and team.

“The 2023 season remains the priority for Jacques and the rest of the coaching staff and knowing him, as I do, he will be working round the clock to deliver success for the Springboks.”

The Boks start their international season in Pretoria against Australia in a truncated Rugby Championship. Clashes with New Zealand and Argentina will follow, while the team will also play World Cup warmup matches against Los Pumas, Wales and the All Blacks before the World Cup kicks off.


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