SA Rugby expected to announce Rassie replacement

AFTER Philip Snyman replaced Sandile Ngcobo in the Blitzboks this week, Mark Alexander is expected to announce a new director of rugby. | BackpagePix

AFTER Philip Snyman replaced Sandile Ngcobo in the Blitzboks this week, Mark Alexander is expected to announce a new director of rugby. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 16, 2024


SA RUGBY started their overhaul of the coaching structures in the organisation this week after head coach Sandile Ngcobo stepped down as Blitzboks head coach.

More changes are expected soon, especially an announcement of the successor for Rassie Erasmus, who left his role as director of rugby after he started his second spell as Springbok coach.

The director of rugby role will most likely fall away with a head of rugby taking over the responsibilities of Erasmus, who previously had to oversee all rugby divisions within the union while focusing on the Springboks, SA Rugby’s golden goose.

Current Western Province head of rugby Dave Wessels and SA Rugby High-Performance Manager Louis Koen are the front line candidates to take over the position. Wessels, who was brought in by the governing body to help WP, is a well-travelled coach and has helped change the fortunes of the Cape side.

Koen currently coaches the Springbok Women and alongside Women’s high-performance manager Lynne Cantwell has taken the women’s programme to new heights.

Mark Alexander, president of the union, this week told Independent Newspapers that they are looking to re-purpose the organisation to streamline things.

“For Rassie to focus on the Boks and other things, that will be too much. We want him focused purely on the Springboks,” according to Alexander.

“We had a strategy meeting in January. We are restructuring the organisation to meet the new demands of the sport. Rugby is changing. There are lots of new challenges.”

SA Rugby this week announced that Ngcobo will be stepping away from the Blitzboks hot seat with former captain Philip Snyman taking over. The change was only expected after the Hong Kong tournament, but drastic measures were taken to see if the Springbok Sevens could turn their fortunes around during the Hong Kong Sevens happening the first week of April.

It also came to light that a falling out between Ngcobo and breakthrough player Ricardo “Tricky Ricky” Duarttee contributed to Duarttee making himself unavailable for the Los Angeles Sevens recently.

It’s the second time this season that Ngcobo and Duarttee had a tiff. He was dropped ahead of the Dubai and Cape Town legs, the first two tournaments of the series, after falling out with the former coach.

The Blitzboks won in Dubai under Snyman’s coaching, but when Ngcobo returned from an injury in Cape Town, the team fell into a slump and hasn’t recovered since.

They currently languish in seventh position on the overall SVNS Series points table, close to the relegation zone. South Africa also still needs to qualify for the Olympics, and the hope is that under Snyman’s coaching, they will do so later this year.