Nienaber hails Flannery appointment

general13 February 2024 09:30
By:Brenden Nel
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Jerry Flannery Getty/Gallo

Former Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has hailed the appointment of Jerry Flannery as his successor as defence coach as a “good move” and believes the Boks will benefit from it.

Flannery ostensibly replaces Nienaber, who was head coach but also headed up the Boks’ defence as they won back to back Rugby World Cup titles, before opting to take up a position at Leinster as their defence coach.

Nienaber was a massive loss for the Springboks, but the World Champions have moved swiftly, bringing back Rassie Erasmus, who was head coach when they won the World Cup in 2019, on a four year stint to see if they can do the unprecedented and win three World Cup titles in a row.


Erasmus wasted no time in appointing former Japan assistant coach Tony Brown, who he coached at the Stormers, and Flannery to his coaching team, with more details on their deployment to be released next month.

The Boks also lost Felix Jones, who has now moved into the role of England’s defensive coach.

Both Flannery and Jones were the assistant coaches to Erasmus and Nienaber during the duo’s stint at Munster before they returned home in 2018 to take up the Bok coaching roles.

Nienaber gave his thumbs up at a Leinster press conference late on Monday, and revealed that Flannery was at the Bok camp as they prepared for the defence of their World Cup title in France last year.


“Obviously he would be very familiar with the way that Rassie would do stuff, because it will be very similar to how we did things when we were at Munster. Jerry actually spent some time with us in the World Cup preparation. I think he was there a week or two with the Boks,” Nienaber explained.

“He understands how the environment operates and the players would know him. He won’t be unfamiliar to them. He actually helped us a little bit with the hookers. He added value with the line-out throws, him being an international hooker himself. Just adding things that he saw.”

Nienaber added that both appointments will serve the Springboks well, and believes they will not only add value to the Springbok cause, but also help take them to a new level with international teams gunning for their downfall after the World Cup success.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for Jerry and I think he will be good for the Boks. I think both of those appointments, him and Tony Brown, are excellent appointments. They will add value to the team. I think he will be a good fit for South Africa.”


Nienaber added that he had seen a lot of Flannery’s work as defence coach and believes he will fit in well.

“When we did our club visits of the abroad players, Harlequins was one of the clubs that we visited. They were always open to us being there, so watching their training sessions, gym sessions, being in their team meetings.

“I saw a lot of Jerry’s work as a defence coach there and I think he will be a good fit for South Africa.”


Meanwhile, Nienaber smiled and described Ireland’s performance in keeping Italy scoreless in their Six Nations game on Sunday as “beautiful.”

“I thought it was beautiful. I texted the lads afterwards. I just said that zero does look beautiful,” he said.

“For any defence coach, it’s a thing of beauty. But obviously, the pressure you put on from an attacking point of view creates that. If you have scoreboard pressure like Ireland had they (Italy) have to take more risks and from deeper, which probably puts you in a better position so it is always a thing of beauty, a zero.”