All Black Tony Brown’s plans to evolve Springboks’ attack not ‘pie in the sky’

New Springboks assistant coaches Tony Brown, left, and Jerry Flannery faced the media on Tuesday. Picture: Picture: Rodger Bosch / AFP

New Springboks assistant coaches Tony Brown, left, and Jerry Flannery faced the media on Tuesday. Picture: Picture: Rodger Bosch / AFP

Published Mar 13, 2024


The Springboks can’t do things the same way they did in the previous two World Cup cycles and expect to be on the winning side again in a few years in Australia.

That’s why the Springboks brought in Tony Brown and Jerry Flannery to change things up as the second era of coach Rassie Erasmus started this past week.

Brown and Flannery replaced former head coach Jacques Nienaber and Felix Jones, who departed for coaching opportunities in Ireland and England, respectively. Erasmus hopes the addition of two foreign coaches will add something different to the Boks as they prepare to defend their title at the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

But plenty of water still needs to run into the sea before then, and that is why Erasmus is eager for their baptism of fire later this year when the Springboks face Wales, Ireland, and Portugal to open their 2024 international season. Later in the year, two home Tests await against the All Blacks during the Rugby Championship.

“Over the next four years (ahead of the World Cup), we pretty much have a clean slate to work with. Well, we are already in the first year,” Erasmus said yesterday.

“In our (first) session with the coaches (last week), we decided that three things will probably make us stop winning – the lack of leadership, the lack of creativity, or an abundance of arrogance.

“We can’t do things exactly the same way. Not that I am saying that Jacques and Felix would’ve done the same thing but we all strive to get that perfect game between attack and defence.

“The coaches slotted in really nicely, we understand our systems, and, looking forward things can only get better.”

Apart from the introduction of Brown and Flannery, the Bok coaching team also gained Jaco Peyper as national laws advisor, Sebastian Prim as sports scientist, and Paddy Sullivan as full-time performance analyst. Sullivan has been with the team before.

This is all to keep that dream alive of becoming the first nation to win three Webb Ellis Cups on the trot, and to make the Springboks a force to be reckoned with.

Brown’s task will be to further unlock the attacking potential of the Boks, while Flannery will have the biggest boots to fill in keeping the defence of the Springboks as watertight as it was under Nienaber.

“We concluded that we must get better, and for that, we have to change some things. Not just for the sake of change, but to get better.

“Tony – we would’ve loved to keep Felix because of the work ethic he brings – has the same work ethic, but he looks different at the attack. Tony is creative and has doable plans, it’s not pie-in-the-sky ones. Real rugby solutions to things.

“Jerry has exactly the same work ethic as Jacques and Felix have. From a defence side, analysis and watching hours of footage of collisions is a big part of your job.

“The things we did the last couple of days were really exciting. And if we get it right, we can improve.”