Ex-ref Peyper joins new Bok set-up, Rassie is officially head coach again

Tony Brown and Jerry Flannery also join the team

06 February 2024 - 15:39
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South African referee Jaco Peyper is to join the Bok coaching group.
South African referee Jaco Peyper is to join the Bok coaching group.
Image: Jean Catuffe (Getty Images)

Rassie Erasmus has officially returned to the role of Springbok head coach in a team that now also includes Jaco Peyper, Tony Brown and Jerry Flannery.

Erasmus, who helped steer the Springboks to back-to-back Rugby World Cup titles in 2019 and 2023, will take up the position for the next four years.

The coaching team has had a reshuffle after Jacques Nienaber and Felix Jones vacated their positions but the talents of Mzwandile Stick, Deon Davids, Daan Human and Andy Edwards (head of athletic performance) have been retained on contracts that run until the end of the 2027 World Cup in Australia.

Peyper, South Africa’s top referee for the better part of the last decade, will take up a full-time position as national laws adviser. He recently called time on his career, ending sixth on the list of the most experienced Test referees.

Bok No 8 and double World Cup winner Duane Vermeulen will also be part of the set-up, though he will have a roving role that includes other teams within SA Rugby’s set-up. He will become the third member of a mobi-coaching unit, joining forces with existing coaches Franzel September and Bafana Nhleko.

Brown and Flannery have, for the last few weeks, been linked with the Bok coaching set-up.

Brown, a former All Black flyhalf, served as an assistant coach for Japan from 2016 to the 2023 World Cup and was also the Highlanders’ head coach in 2017, 2021 and 2022. His focus will be on attack.

Flannery, a former Ireland hooker and Harlequins assistant coach, will take charge of the Boks’ defence.

We are delighted to announce that Rassie Erasmus will take over the reins as the Springbok head coach once again after his success with the team since 2018, and we believe that with the continuity in the coaching structures and the exciting additions, we are in good hands in the ultimate objective of claiming a hat-trick of World Cup titles,” said SA Rugby president Mark Alexander.

Tony Brown and Jerry Flannery are both former international players and bring fantastic coaching experience, and their skills will complement Mzwandile Stick, Deon Davids and Daan Human.

It is also a huge coup to have a world-class referee in Jaco Peyper as a member of the management team and to retain his expertise in South African Rugby, as understanding the referees and their analysis of the laws is critical to any team’s success.

We are excited about this Springbok coaching team and we’ll be thrilled to see how the double world champions perform once they return to the field for the first time since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in France last year.”

He also welcomed the appointment of Vermeulen. “Duane has tremendous experience as a player and will take that IP into the coaching teams of our other national teams to give them an insight into what it takes to be a champion team.

It also allows us to extend our own coaching base from within the ranks of the Springboks with an eye to the future.”

Erasmus, who is recuperating from medical procedures after a freak accident, said he was thankful for the trust placed in him by SA Rugby’s leadership to steer the national team again, and he was thrilled about the new appointments.

It is a massive honour to coach the Springboks, and I am grateful for the trust placed in me,” Erasmus said.

“The main difference between the last four years and this season is that I will be more hands-on at the field sessions. In my role as director of rugby in the last four years I continued to oversee the team structures and strategy in conjunction with Jacques and the other coaches, so it should be an easy transition back into the head coach role.

We already had our first coaching session this week at the hospital, and it’s great to see the enthusiasm among the coaches to get the season under way.”

SA Rugby CEO Rian Oberholzer said the role of director of rugby had been mothballed pending a restructuring of the rugby department of SA Rugby to meet the evolving high performance and participation needs of the sport.

The off-field management team will be announced after the team’s first alignment camp.

Springbok coaching team:

  • Head coach: Rassie Erasmus
  • Assistant coaches: Mzwandile Stick, Deon Davids, Daan Human, Tony Brown,
    Jerry Flannery
  • Head of athletic performance: Andy Edwards 


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