JOHANNESBURG – Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick has been handed the responsibility of guiding the South Africa “A” team for their two matches in the United Kingdom in November.
Stick will be assisted by Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, along with Junior Springbok coach, Bafana Nhleko, Joey Mongalo from the Sharks and Griquas scrum coach, Wian du Preez.
The SA “A” team will play against Munster on Thursday, 10 November, and the Bristol Bears a week later on 17 November as part of the end-of-year tour.
Erasmus and Stick will split their duties between the representative and the Springboks, who have Test matches against Ireland on 5 November, France on 12 November, Italy on 19 November and England on 26 November.
Erasmus emphasised the importance of the SA “A” as a pathway for coaches and players to be introduced to the demands of the game at international level.
“The SA ‘A’ matches will have multiple benefits for SA Rugby as it will open the door for some of our top up-and-coming coaches to be exposed to high-level rugby at senior level in a national team set-up, while at the same time allowing us to continue building our player base,” said Erasmus.
With the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France fast approaching, the Springbok coaching team will get a look at young players within their ranks as well as offering some experienced players the opportunity to return from injury and get back to form as they contest for places in the national team.
“These are going to be challenging matches, which is exactly what we want less than a year out from the Rugby World Cup,” Erasmus added.
The Springbok and SA “A” squads will be announced within the next three weeks.
SA ‘A’ team management:
Head coach: Mzwandile Stick
Assistant coaches: Bafana Nhleko, Joey Mongalo, Wian du Preez
Technical analyst: Willie Maree
Operations manager: Zintsika Tashe
Logistics manager: Barry McDonald
Team doctor: Clement Plaatjies
Physiotherapist: Lance Lemmetjies
Conditioning coach: Johan van Wyk