Cape Town - New Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus is confident that his assistant Mzwandile Stick will add a valuable contribution to the team.
Erasmus was speaking in the SuperSport studio in Randburg on Thursday after it was confirmed that he would take over as Springbok coach.
Erasmus's three assistant coaches will be Stick, Jacques Nienaber and Pieter de Villiers, while Aled Walters will join the management team as head of athletic performance.
But it is the appointment of Stick, in particular, which raised eyebrows in some quarters.
Stick was appointed as Allister Coetzee’s backline assistant in 2016 but was removed from his position after a torrid season for the Springboks.
Stick worked as an assistant coach to the Junior Springboks in 2017 but is now back with the senior national team.
Erasmus defended the appointment of Stick, insisting he had the right pedigree to be a Springbok assistant coach.
“He’s got a specific skill - he was the sevens captain, he was the sevens player of the year as captain, he coached the under-19s at EP, he coached their Vodacom Cup side, he was an assistant coach in Super Rugby, he was assistant coach at the Springboks and the Junior Springboks,” Erasmus stressed.
The Bok mentor added that Stick’s role would not be defined as simply a backline coach.
“He brings a specific skill set which is not a backline coach or attack coach... but I’m definitely going to utilise him in something specific which was the intention two years ago.”
This Erasmus added, was doing “more of the sevens stuff, off-the-ball, work rate, getting players into position early... something that he’s really familiar with and I think he’s going to add massive value.”