Jacques Nienabr has announced he will step down after Rugby World Cup in France this year.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber will finish his run as the national coach at the conclusion of the team’s Rugby World Cup campaign in France before taking up a position in Leinster’s coaching ranks in Ireland next year.
Nienaber cited personal reasons for the decision, but said his focus remained on the major task of the year, which was to give everything in the Springboks’ defence of their Rugby World Cup title.
“The last few years have been the highlight of my coaching career and it’s with a heavy heart that I’m finishing up my time with the Springboks and leaving the country for personal reasons,” said Nienaber.
“The decision is made and that’s firmly behind me now. My sole focus is on seeing the Springboks defend the Rugby World Cup title this year. I will continue to channel all my energy into ensuring that we leave no stone unturned to achieve that.”
Rian Oberholzer, SA Rugby CEO, said: “Jacques was very open with us about the reasons for wanting to leave South Africa at the end of the season.
“We will confirm a successor in the title role of Springbok coach in due course – that planning will go on in the background, but Rassie Erasmus’ services are locked in to the end of 2025 at the very least.”
Nienaber has served several roles within the South African rugby structures, which include as a Springbok assistant coach at the 2011 and 2019 Rugby World Cup’s before stepping into the head coaching role in 2020.
Mr. Mark Alexander, SA Rugby President, said: “Jacques has been a great servant of South African rugby at provincial and national level for two decades but now is not the time for thank yous.
“The 2023 season remains the priority for Jacques and the rest of the coaching staff and knowing him, as I do, he will be working round the clock to deliver success for the Springboks.”
The Springboks kick off the international season against Australia in Pretoria on Saturday, 8 July, in the opening round of the shortened Castle Lager Rugby Championship, which will be followed by clashes against New Zealand at the Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland a week later, and Argentina in Johannesburg on Saturday, 29 July – their final match on home soil for the year.
The Boks will then make the journey to Buenos Aires in August to take on 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 international showpiece in France.
South Africa will launch their Rugby World Cup title defence on Sunday, 10 September, against Scotland in Marseille, which will be followed by pool matches against Romania in Bordeaux (17 September), Ireland in Paris (23 September) and Tonga in Marseille (1 October).