Jacques Nienaber will not coach the Springboks beyond the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, this news emerged a few days ago and while it is unclear whether Rassie Erasmus would assume the role of head coach again – we are left to wonder who could come into the soon-to-be vacant position with the Springboks. Here are 4 candidates Bet Central believes are best placed to fill the Boks’ head coach role.
The least experienced of all the coaches who could be in the running, but perhaps one who could break the shackles of the Springboks and embrace a broader gameplan. Mzwandile Stick has had an extensive apprenticeship for the last 2 4-year cycles within the Springbok camp and that experience is invaluable at Test level.
He wears his heart on his sleeve which isn’t always a good thing at Test level, but he has matured over the years. The lack of head coaching experience could be the downside, his only consistent head coaching gig was with the Eastern Province juniors and it was very successful, but it was not at senior level.
A man Rassie Erasmus is said to be a huge admirer of, Deon Davids could also be in the running. Upon his appointment to the Springboks coaching staff in 2020 it was viewed as a long-term project that would eventually see Davids assume the role of head coach with the Springboks, only Rassie Erasmus will know the level of progress Davids has made to ascertain whether he is ready for the hot seat.
Davids has been a huge success in every role he has played over the years including taking a disjointed Southern Kings side and turning them into a good side which could compete, so his ability to improve players and teams is undoubted. But the Springboks head coach position has far more dynamics to it, so for all his experience, he also needs to bring a lot of character for the role.
Johann van Graan
Johann van Graan, perhaps, to his disadvantage is associated with the lacklustre era of the Springboks under both Heyneke Meyer and Allister Coetzee from 2012 to 2017 where he served as forwards for both coaches. Soon after 2017 began his career as a head coach taking up the role at Munster where he did well until 2022.
He then took on the tough and unenviable task of rebuilding Bath Rugby in the Gallagher Premiership and while he has stabilised things, they still languish 2nd from bottom in the Premiership, but his road to the “poisoned chalice” would be familiar for most Springboks coaches. Many coaches served as Bok’s assistants in the past before moving away to gain a bit more experience as coaches at domestic level and eventually became the main men.
Van Graan’s exposure in Europe could be invaluable for the Boks.
The most charismatic coach on this list, John Dobson is one of the easier coaches to converse with and is a media’s dream perhaps owing to his experience in the media. His charismatic nature isn’t only limited to how he deals with media, but there is a free expression embedded in his gameplan and while not always suited for Test rugby, it would be a welcome change for a team not known for much else outside of physical dominance.
His only real disadvantage is his lack of experience in a national setup, all throughout his career, he has coached at university and domestic levels. But considering he won the Stormers their very 1st noteworthy title in winning the URC last year – there is a lot of substance to John Dobson and the powers could do much worse than the published novel author.