Two staff members have been promoted into new roles after serving in assistant capacities, with Bafana Nhleko moving into the head coach position of the Junior Springboks, while former Blitzboks player Sandile Ngcobo is now the new head coach of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy.
“We’re committed to ensuring there is a development pipeline for our coaches and with Bafana and Sandile, we’ve accomplished that as both have been in our systems for some time,” said Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s director of Rugby.
“Bafana first joined the Junior Springbok coaching structures as an assistant coach in 2018 and he will now take over the reins from Chean Roux, who will remain involved with our Under-20 Academy.
“Sandile, who played for the Blitzboks when they won back-to-back HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series titles in 2017 and 2018, has been assisting Marius Schoeman since he hung up his boots and with Marius now basically overseeing our sevens programme, it made sense to promote Sandile into the role of head coach.”
Nhleko was excited about the prospects of taking over as Junior Springbok head coach, even though the World Rugby U20 Championships have been cancelled for 2021.
“Yes, it’s disappointing that we won’t have a World Champs this year, but age-group rugby is a different beast and I’m very excited to get stuck in as soon as possible,” said Nhleko.
“I really enjoy the challenges and pleasures of working with the youngsters, especially in South Africa where we have a rich heritage of wonderful junior players.”
Honing his coaching skills in the familiar environment of the sevens programme is paramount for Ngcobo: “I see this as a great opportunity to grow as a coach, to keep on working with experienced people such as Neil Powell, Renfred Dazel and Marius, and to help ensure our pipeline of untapped talent providing players for the Blitzboks runs smoothly.”