Springboks to score canny former All Black as attack coach – reports

Head coach Tony Brown of the Highlanders

File. According to reports, the Springboks are set to sign former All Black flyhalf Tony Brown as an attack coach. Picture: Martin Hunter/www.photosport.nz

Published Jan 29, 2024


According to reports, the Springboks are set to sign former All Blacks flyhalf Tony Brown as an attack coach – and if they get this right, it will be a huge boost for the South Africans.

Another former international player, Jerry Flannery, is also in line to join Rassie Erasmus’ staff.

The former Ireland hooker was a 2009 Six Nations Grand Slam winner — he won 41 Test caps between 2005 and 2011 — before starting his coaching career under Erasmus at Munster.

A top priority for the Boks as they start a new four-year cycle is to grow their attacking game, and in the innovative Brown they would have one of the best proponents of the art of attack.

Experience dating back to playing days

As a player, Brown was a tricky customer with the ball in hand in nearly 200 games for the Highlanders and Otago, and in 18 Tests for his country (1999-2001).

In 2006, he played a season of Super 14 rugby for the Sharks and transformed their backline play.

But the 49-year-old has made an even bigger mark as a coach.

He has done wonders with limited resources at the Highlanders in Super Rugby, and as assistant coach of Japan he was part of famous World Cup wins over Scotland and Ireland in 2019.

In 2019, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson did his best to get Brown to join him, but Brown was contracted to Japan.

Brown was the assistant to Jamie Joseph at the World Cup with Japan last year, but Joseph has returned to Dunedin to take up the head of rugby role at the Highlanders, with Eddie Jones replacing him as coach of the Brave Blossoms.

Brown has always said that his preference is to coach at international level and Erasmus has spotted a great opportunity to bring in the canny Kiwi.

According to reports, SA Rugby president Mark Alexander has confirmed that the Springbok coaching team has been finalised, and the indications are that Erasmus will replace Jacques Nienaber with Flannery, and that Brown will come in for Felix Jones.

SA Rugby confirmed some time ago that the majority of the coaching staff who were successful in France — Mzwandile Stick, Deon Davids and Daan Human, as well as head of athletic performance, Andy Edwards – will continue for another four years .

Flannery is currently working as a defence coach at Harlequins in England. Flannery reportedly uses the same principles on defence as Nienaber, whom he learned from at Munster in 2016 and 2017, the years Nienaber and Erasmus coached the Irish team.

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