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Cape Town – Defence Jacques Nienaber looks set to be named Springbok head coach later this month.

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According to a report on Netwerk24, Nienaber is director of rugby Rassie Erasmus’ preferred candidate and the latter convinced SA Rugby bosses of his plan for the future at a meeting on Thursday.

Nienaber and former Southern Kings coach Deon Davids were believed to have been the front-runners to take over the Bok head coaching position.

Erasmus stepped down as national coach after South Africa’s World Cup triumph to instead focus on his director of rugby position.

The report added that Davids will likely be named as an assistant coach to Nienaber.

Erasmus and Nienaber have a long history, having first met in the army before crossing paths at the University of the Free State’s Shimlas team where Nienaber was the physiotherapist and Erasmus the captain.

When Erasmus became coach of the Free State Cheetahs, he appointed Nienaber as strength and conditioning coach, with the latter later shifting his focus to the team’s defensive structures.

Nienaber followed Erasmus to the Stormers and also Munster in Ireland, before starting at the Springboks last year.

Davids was at the helm of the Southern Kings between 2016 and 2019. Under his guidance, the Port Elizabeth franchise showed promise in their final season of Super Rugby in 2017 when they won six matches.

However, the team struggled in their first two seasons in the PRO14, winning just three out of 42 games before Davids was sacked before the current campaign.

The new Springbok coach is expected to be named before Christmas, with SA Rugby president Mark Alexander saying earlier this month that the new coach’s identity will be revealed before the organisation closes for the festive period.

– Compiled by Herman Mostert