Tony Brown can pave way for dynamic Springboks game plan at 2027 World Cup

Former All Blacks’ flyhalf Tony Brown was earlier this week appointed as one of the Springboks’ new assistant coaches ahead of the 2024 season

Former All Blacks’ flyhalf Tony Brown was earlier this week appointed as one of the Springboks’ new assistant coaches ahead of the 2024 season. Photo: Roslan Rahman/AFP

Published Feb 8, 2024


The appointment of Tony Brown might seem like a left-field one by the Springboks, but his rugby background will bring a fresh approach to the world champions’ attacking play.

Brown was unveiled this week as one of the Boks’ new assistant coaches ahead of the 2024 season, alongside Jerry Flannery, former international referee Jaco Peyper and former Springbok Duane Vermeulen, who will form part of SA Rugby’s coaching mobi-unit.

Looking at the double Tests the four-time World Cup winners will play this year against the All Blacks and Ireland, the appointment of New Zealander Brown and former Irish international Flannery by Bok head coach Rassie Erasmus comes as no surprise.

Brown could be the perfect addition to unlock the full potential of the Springbok attack after we saw more glimpses of their devastating ability in the build-up to the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

The victories included a 35-7 demolition of eventual finalists New Zealand in a warm-up Test at Twickenham last year. This match showed the capabilities of the Boks on the attack, and it will be Brown’s task to harness that further so that the South Africans will be able to execute it as they build towards the 2027 World Cup in Australia.

Looking at how the Springbok attack has evolved over the last few years since Erasmus and former coach Jacques Nienaber took over, there was a massive improvement from the forwards-dominated approach in 2019 to one that accommodated the attacking skills of Manie Libbok, Damian Willemse, Grant Williams, Cheslin Kolbe and Kurt-Lee Arendse last year.

Libbok’s no-look cross-field kick for an Arendse try against Scotland is a prime example.

Their transition from defence to attack has been outstanding. But what Brown will add is another dynamic to their attack off first- and second-phase possession, and if the Boks master that over the next couple of seasons, we could possibly see a Springbok side deploy a different game plan in 2027 to what they have used to win backto-back trophies.

With the Boks having Williams and Libbok as the halfbacks, Willemse at fullback and Arendse and Canan Moodie on the wings, and Brown and assistant coach Mzwandile Stick working with them to refine their attack even more, the players getting first-hand experience from a former All Black flyhalf will definitely excite Springbok fans.

The first season’s games will come with the expected growing pains, but knowing Erasmus, he would have made provisions for that as well – especially after stating they already had their first coaching planning session in hospital last week, where he was recovering from accidental burns.

Brown’s addition will be under heavy scrutiny, especially in South Africa. Still, the Boks have made their intentions clear of winning a record third world title in a row and a fifth Webb Ellis Cup by signing the new foreign coaches.

Now the work begins to build and refine that squad to achieve those ambitions in 2027.


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