Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Compiled by Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Tony Brown to join Boks is a done deal — reports

The Boks will be without Jacques Nienaber and Felix Jones from this season, after both men vacated their positions after the 2023 World Cup.

Former All Blacks flyhalf and Highlanders Super Rugby coach Tony Brown looks set to become a member of the Springboks coaching team this year.

This is according to Afrikaans publication Rapport as well as stuff.co.nz in New Zealand.

Rapport first reported on the possibility of Brown joining the Boks on Sunday and on Tuesday the New Zealand publication said the deal was done.

Brown played just 18 Tests for the All Blacks between 1999 and 2001, but he played nearly 100 Super Rugby matches for the Highlanders and also featured for the Sanyo Wild Knights in Japan. Brown also turned out for the Sharks and Stormers in 2006 and 2008 respectively.

New staff in Boks set-up

SA Rugby’s director of rugby and also now the Bok coach, Rassie Erasmus, has been on the look out for replacements in the World Cup-winning team’s back room staff following the departures of Jacques Nienaber and Felix Jones.

Now at Leinster in Ireland, Nienaber’s role as defence guru in the Bok team is yet to be filled, but Brown is set to step into the attack coach role vacated by Jones, who’s joined the England set-up.

The 49-year-old Brown has vast experience in coaching, having been involved with Japan on two occasions at the World Cup and he also helped take the Highlanders to Super Rugby glory in 2015.

According to stuff.co.nz, SA Rugby could make the Brown announcement this week.

Role for Vermeulen?

It is not known who Erasmus is looking at to fill the role of defence coach. There has, however, been plenty of talk about former Bok No 8 Duane Vermeulen taking up the role now that he is retired from all rugby.

Vermeulen won two World Cups with the Boks, in 2019 and 2023, and is said to be well acquainted with the team’s defensive strategies.

Erasmus will again take charge of the team this year, as he did in 2018 and 2019, now that Nienaber has left the country. His contract with SA Rugby runs until the end of next season (2025).

The Boks’ first Tests of the year are in July — two matches against Ireland a one-off against Portugal.

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