Mzwandile Stick to coach SA ‘A’ in UK next month alongside Rassie Erasmus

04 October 2022 - 11:49
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Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick will work with SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus during SA ‘A’ matches against Munster and the Bristol Bears next month in the UK.
Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick will work with SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus during SA ‘A’ matches against Munster and the Bristol Bears next month in the UK.
Image: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick will take charge of SA ‘A’ against Munster and Bristol Bears in November in their two matches on the tour of the UK that will also see the return to the national team of SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus.

Stick will work Erasmus, who will oversee the coaching, and three assistant coaches in Junior Springbok coach Bafana Nhleko, Sharks coach Joey Mongalo and Griquas scrum coach Wian du Preez.

Erasmus was barred from attending matches until September 30 by World Rugby for criticising the performance of Australian referee Nic Berry during last year's British and Irish Lions series.

The SA ‘A’ team will face Munster on November 10 and the Bristol Bears seven days later.

With the Springboks in action against Ireland on November 5, France on November 12, Italy on November 19 and England on November 26 on the outgoing tour, Erasmus and Stick will split their duties between the two teams.

Erasmus said while winning the Springbok Test matches was the priority, the SA ‘A’ team plays an equally important role in player and coach development as the Boks gear up for the Rugby World Cup in France next year.

“The SA ‘A’ matches will have multiple benefits for SA Rugby as they will open the door for some of our top up-and-coming coaches to be exposed to high-level rugby at senior level in a national team set-up. At the same time it allows us to continue building our player base as we look ahead to the Rugby World Cup,” Erasmus said.

“This season alone we used over 50 players in our Test matches, which is fantastic as one of our core pillars in the Springbok team is to build squad depth. However with limited playing opportunities for several players and the fact that we lost out on a vital year to build our squad due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these matches will be crucial.

“The closest one can get to playing for the Springboks is the SA ‘A’ team, and we believe these matches will give us a good idea of the coaches and young players in our ranks, while also offering experienced players the opportunity to return from injury and get back to form as they contest for places with an eye on Rugby World Cup spots.”

Commenting on the SA ‘A’ team's opposition, Erasmus said: “Munster are renowned for their status as Irish rugby giants, and as we have seen in the United Rugby Championship they will test the team to the limit.

“We expect Bristol to play more of a running game, especially with Pat Lam — a former New Zealand junior and club player, and Auckland Blues coach — influencing their style of play.

“These are going to be challenging matches, which is exactly what we want less than a year out from the Rugby World Cup.”

The Springbok and SA ‘A’ squads are expected to be announced in three weeks’ time.

SA ‘A’ team management

Head coach: Mzwandile Stick

Assistant coaches: Bafana Nhleko, Joey Mongalo, Wian du Preez

Technical analyst: Willie Maree

Operations manager: Zintsika Tashe

Logistics manager: Barry McDonald

Team doctor: Clement Plaatjies

Physiotherapist: Lance Lemmetjies

Conditioning coach: Johan van Wyk

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