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    Deon Davids and Mzwandile Stick Likely as Nienaber’s Successors as Springbok Coach

    SA Rugby has confirmed that assistant coach Deon Davids, Mzwandile Stick, Daan Human, and Head of Athletic Performance Andy Edwards’ contracts will be extended until after the 2027 World Cup in Australia. This has fueled speculation that one of the two current assistant coaches, Stick or Davids, will likely succeed Jacques Nienaber as Springboks coach after the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

    Stick and Davids, as well as Human and Edwards, will all be involved with the Boks for the next four years. This is a clear indication that an outside coach is unlikely to take over the team, especially since any coach would want to use their own management team if appointed.

    This move ensures continuity within the Springbok coaching team that won the Rugby World Cup in 2019. It is also clear that SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus will remain in his position until the end of his contract in 2025.

    Since the departure of CEO Jurie Roux and renewed interest from clubs abroad, there has been speculation that Erasmus may leave because of a clause in his contract that allows him to do so. This announcement, however, suggests that Erasmus is committed to the Springboks for the foreseeable future.

    Another assistant coach, Irishman Felix Jones, has decided to join England after the World Cup. This means that Stick and Davids are the most likely candidates for the Springbok coaching job.

    “We are delighted to announce that Mzwandile, Deon, Daan, and Andy have signed contract extensions that will keep them with the Springboks until the 2027 Rugby World Cup,” said SA Rugby CEO Rian Oberholzer.

    “As a coaching team, they have all come a long way under Rassie’s leadership as Director of Rugby, and I am confident that the continuity in our coaching staff will bode well for the Springboks in 2023 and subsequent seasons.”

    “Planning to confirm a successor in the title role of Springbok coach is ongoing in the background, while Rassie’s services are contracted at the very least until the end of 2025.”

    “With their services secured, it’s back to business, and we’d like to wish all of the national coaches the best of luck as they ramp up for the upcoming international season and the Rugby World Cup in France.”

    The Springboks will play Australia in their first Castle Lager Rugby Championship test on Saturday, July 8, in Pretoria. This will be followed by matches against New Zealand at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium a week later, and Argentina on Saturday, July 29 in Johannesburg.

    The team will then travel to Buenos Aires in August to face the Pumas before facing Wales and the All Blacks in Rugby World Cup warm-up matches in Cardiff and London in the final build-up to the Rugby World Cup.

    South Africa will begin their Rugby World Cup title defence against Scotland on Sunday, September 10, in Marseille, followed by pool matches against Romania in Bordeaux (17 September), Ireland in Paris (23 September), and Tonga in Marseille (1 October).

    The Rugby World Cup quarterfinals will be held on October 14/15, followed by the semifinals on October 20/21 and the final on October 28.

    The announcement of contract renewals provides stability for the Springboks ahead of the Rugby World Cup. Stick and Davids have worked well with Nienaber, and their consistency will be critical to the team’s success in the future.

    Main Image: African Insider

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