JOHANNESBURG – Highly respected defence coach JP Ferreira appears to be lost to Lions rugby after the union announced their new-look coaching structures on Sunday, with his name missing from those who’ll be involved in 2018.
Ferreira, who has handled the Lions’ defence for a number of years and who toured as the defence coach with the Springboks in November last year, is understood to be in negotiations to join Munster in Ireland.
The position at the Irish province became available when fellow South African Jacques Nienaber returned to South Africa to take up a position with Saru, along with Rassie Erasmus.
Erasmus’ position at Munster has been filled by former Bok forwards coach Johann van Graan, who left the Boks halfway through their tour of Europe in the last four weeks.
Ferreira is, however, contracted to the Lions until October next year, so if he is unable to secure a position in Ireland, he may yet continue in his role of defence coach.
In Sunday’s Lions statement regarding the new structure, there is no portfolio for defence at Super Rugby level.
Also seemingly lost to the Lions is former Bok lineout king Victor Matfield, who took charge of the Lions forwards in the Currie Cup, a position formerly held by head coach Johan Ackermann, who is now with Gloucester.
Matfield worked on a consultancy basis and he may still fulfil such a role in future, but there is now a new forwards boss in town to complicate Matfield’s situation.
Philip Lemmer, a former Emerging Springbok prop and SA representative in wrestling, will take charge of the Lions forwards in Super Rugby, under the guidance of head coach Swys de Bruin.
Lemmer cut his teeth in the junior ranks and has coached the UJ Varsity Cup team in the past, as well as been involved with the Lions junior sides.
Joey Mongalo, who is also something of a Lions veteran having coached in the juniors and this year was part of the Currie Cup team, will focus on the breakdown and backline play of the Lions.
Ivan van Rooyen will stay on as conditioning coach, while Neil de Bruin will fulfil the role of kicking and skills coach.
The team that will do duty in the SuperSport Challenge will be coached by Herkie Kruger, with Bafana Nhleko (defence) and Bart Schoeman (forwards) as his assistants.
The Super Rugby Lions are currently in pre-season.