Venter in Springbok U-turn?

Cape Town - Despite signing a deal with Italy, Brendan Venter is reportedly still on SA Rugby’s radar for a defence coaching role at the Springboks.

Venter recently signed a deal to be Italy’s defence coach until the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

However, according to Rapport, Venter is still in SA Rugby’s sights, having stipulated a set of conditions before he commits himself to the Springboks.

The Afrikaans newspaper reported on Sunday that Venter will withdraw from Italy’s coaching staff if SA Rugby agrees to his terms.

It is reportedly one of three changes to be made to the Bok coaching staff, with the others seeing Franco Smith added as backline coach and Konrad van Hagen being the new team doctor.

Van Hagen, who is the Southern Kings’ team doctor, looks set to replace Jerome Mampane, who is likely to pay the price for the incorrect treatment of players in the build-up to South Africa's Test match against Argentina in Salta last year, which severely disrupted the Bok camp.

His controversial treatment of Francois Hougaard and Francois Louw’s injuries is also under review.

Allister Coetzee, however, looks set to remain as head coach.

Recent reports indicated that SA Rugby was keen to replace Coetzee with Rassie Erasmus, who is the current director of rugby at Irish club Munster.

However, a report on the TimesLIVE website last week indicated that Coetzee will not be sacked before the start of the new international season.

Instead, the report says, he will be given the June series against France to prove his worth.

The Boks take on France in three Test matches in South Africa over that period and, according to the article, Coetzee will be sacked if the Boks lose that series.

The Boks' horror 2016 season included a first ever loss to Ireland on home soil, losing away to Argentina, a 57-15 pummelling at home against the All Blacks, as well as going down to lowly Italy - also for the first time ever.

The first Test against France is scheduled for Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on June 10.

The second Test will take place at Kings Park in Durban on June 17, while the third and final match will be held at Ellis Park in Johannesburg (June 24).

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