The Not-So-Secret Secret is Out!

Rassie Erasmus is the new Bok coach.

Johan (Rassie) Erasmus was born in the town of Despatch, an industrial town neighbouring Port Elizabeth, some 45 years ago. He is one of many sporting greats to have their roots in Despatch, including Springbok great Danie Gerber and Slow Death Rudie Koertzen, the international cricket umpire known for his slow, deliberate, and inevitable raising of the finger to send a batsman back to the pavilion.

Erasmus will lead a streamlined Springbok management team until the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup. His Springbok coaching duties will be combined with his current role as Director of Rugby at SA Rugby.

His three assistant coaches will be Jacques Nienaber, Pieter de Villiers and Mzwandile Stick, while Aled Walters will join the management team as Head of Athletic Performance.

Nienaber previously served as the Western Province and Stormers Defence Coach, from 2008 to 2014, where he built a reputation for producing teams with rock solid defence. He served a very short stint as Springbok defence coach under Allister Coetzee before joining Erasmus at Munster in 2016.


Pieter De Villiers played most of his senior rugby in

France, playing for Stade Francais from 1994 to 2008. He earned 68 caps for France during this time and played in two Rugby World Cup tournaments. After his retirement from playing the game he switched roles to become a coach, specialising in scrums and forward play. He previously served as the scrum consultant under former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer from 2012 to 2015,

Stick was a member of the 2016 Springbok coaching staff before his involvement with the Junior Springboks last year. He is a young coach with much potential, but little experience and is obviously being groomed for greater things.

Walters, who has considerable international experience gained from working in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, joins the team from Irish side Munster, where he was their Head of Athletic Performance.

Two other experienced former staff members return to the new-look Springbok management set-up, namely Charles Wessels (Head of Operations) and Rene Naylor (physiotherapist). Both of them performed duties for the Springboks at the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup tournaments, and bring with them a wealth of experience.

The first task awaiting Erasmus will be to prepare the Springboks for a once-off match against Wales in Washington DC and a tough three-Test Incoming Series against England.

The Springbok Management Team:

Head Coach: Rassie Erasmus

Assistant Coaches: Jacques Nienaber, Pieter de Villiers, Mzwandile Stick

Head of Athletic Performance: Aled Walters

Technical Analyst: Lindsay Weyer

Team Doctor: Konrad von Hagen

Head of Operations: Charles Wessels

Physiotherapists: Vivian Verwant, Rene Naylor, Tanu Pillay

Logistics Manager: JJ Fredericks

Media Manager: Rayaan Adriaanse

PR Manager: Annelee Murray


  1. This is really confusing: Rassie is Director of Coaching at SARU. He now has a contract lasting until 2023 as Springbok Coach. So which is he?
    Just as importantly, what are the terms of both (or either) roles?

    Does he have performance clause and will he conduct his own reviews?

    Which one of him will be responsible for transformation?

    Rassie has said that the Springboks can win the next RWC, what happens if he fails?

    • He will fulfil both roles, which is a bit weird.

      I do like the contract to 2023! This is a first for South Africa and we will, hopefully, see some continuity at last. Shades of Steve Hansen, Micheal Cheika, and a host of Six Nations coaches.

      Transformation cannot be the coach’s problem, and I do not see how it can be the Director of Rugby’s problem either. It has to be a management problem at the highest levels, driving a well structured, properly funded, properly equipped project with the assistance of the National Department of Sport & Recreation as well as schools rugby administrators across the country. It cannot be the job of the man or men tasked with producing a Springbok team. Period.