Allister Coetzee has managed to dodge being axed as the Springbok coach.
The South African Rugby Union (Saru) on Monday confirmed it had “reaffirmed its support” for him and will receive significantly more experienced support.
Cheetahs coach Franco Smith will be the national side’s new full-time backline coach and is highly respected by local players.
One hitch though is that he’ll still divide his time between the Boks and Cheetahs for the next three seasons.
It’s a challenging juggling act.
“Franco will continue the work he began with the backs and attack at the end of last year,” said Saru president Mark Alexander.
Smith replaces Mzwandile Stick, who will be re-deployed as the Baby Boks’ assistant coach under Chean Roux.
Stick was widely criticised for failing to make an impact at Springbok level but was also seemingly forced on Coetzee when he was appointed in April last year.
Despite there still not being any official confirmation, it is understood Brendan Venter will be recruited as the Boks’ defence coach.
“We are very excited about the new defensive coach we have identified to address matters raised during the review. We expect to be able to confirm that appointment shortly,” said Alexander.
Venter, one of the smartest men in the game, is still under contract with Italy and can apparently only be released after the Six Nations tournament.
While Saru’s communication suggests Coetzee is safe, there are still reports that the Bok mentor will now be subject to a performance clause in his contract.
A poor series in June against France could put his job in danger again.
“Last year was an incredibly tough one for the Springboks and all of the rugby community suffered,” said Alexander.
“We weighed many factors in the review process but we believe that these changes will strengthen the Springbok management hand.”