Jerry Flannery. Alamy Stock Photo

Former Munster and Ireland hooker Jerry Flannery appointed Springboks defence coach

Rassie Erasmus is returning to the position of head coach.

JERRY FLANNERY HAS been confirmed as South Africa’s new defence coach, with the Springboks today announcing a new-look coaching structure.  

Flannery will take charge of the Springboks’ defence with Tony Brown appointed attack coach and Rassie Erasmus returning to the role of head coach, having acted as Director of Rugby on South Africa’s run to their successful World Cup title defence last year.

Flannery replaces former Munster and Ireland player Felix Jones, who joined Steve Borthwick’s England set-up after the World Cup. 

The former Munster and Ireland hooker was defence and lineout coach at Harlequins since 202o, having previously worked as scrum coach (2013-15) and forwards coach (2015-19) at Munster.

Flannery represented Munster 93 times during his playing career and won 41 caps for Ireland.

Erasmus returns to the head coach role following Jacques Nienaber’s move to Leinster.

Former All Black out-half Brown will take charge of the Springboks’ attack. Brown was an assistant coach with Japan from 2016-2023 and was also Highlanders head coach in 2017, 2021 and 2022.

Former Ulster player Duane Vermeulen has also been appointed to a “roving coaching role” while recently retired referee Jaco Peyper joins as National Laws Advisor.

South Africa host Ireland for two summer Tests in July, playing Andy Farrell’s side in Pretoria (6 July) and Durban (13 July).

Erasmus – who is currently recovering from a medical procedure to treat a chemical burns accident – said he is looking forward to being more “hands-on” with the squad as he steps back into the head coach position.

“It is a massive honour to coach the Springboks, and I am grateful for the trust placed in me,” said Erasmus.

“The main difference between the last four years and this season is that I will be more hands-on at the field sessions. In my role as Director of Rugby in the last four years I continued to oversee the team structures and strategy in conjunction with Jacques and the other coaches, so it should be an easy transition back into the head coach role.

We already had our first coaching session this week at the hospital, and it’s great to see the enthusiasm among the coaches to get the season underway.

“We have a challenging Test season ahead with a Test Series against Ireland on Saturday 6 and 13 July in Pretoria and Durban, and we face Portugal for the first time ever a week later in Bloemfontein in the Castle Lager Incoming Series.

“We then have an exciting Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign, which features two home tests against New Zealand on Saturday 31 August and 7 September in Johannesburg and Cape Town, before facing Argentina in Nelspruit on Saturday, 28 September.

“With the coaching team finalised, we can now focus on planning for the season and the next few years.”

Rian Oberholzer, CEO of SA Rugby, said the Director of Rugby position had been “mothballed” pending a restructuring process.

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