Bafana Nhleko appointed head coach of Junior Springboks

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Bafana Nhleko (Getty Images)
Bafana Nhleko (Getty Images)

SA Rugby has confirmed Bafana Nhleko as the new Under-20 Junior Springboks head coach while Sandile Ngcobo is named as the head coach of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy.

"We're committed to ensuring there is a development pipeline for our coaches and with Bafana and Sandile, we've accomplished that as both have been in our systems for some time," South Africa's Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, said in a statement released on Saturday.

"Bafana first joined the Junior Springbok coaching structures as an assistant coach in 2018 and he will now take over the reins from Chean Roux, who will remain involved with our Under-20 Academy.

"Sandile, who played for the Blitzboks when they won back-to-back HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series titles in 2017 and 2018, has been assisting Marius Schoeman since he hung up his boots and with Marius now basically overseeing our sevens programme, it made sense to promote Sandile into the role of head coach."

Speaking on his appointment, Nhleko said he was excited about the new challenge even though the World Rugby U20 Championships have been cancelled for 2021 due to the coronavirus. 

"Yes, it’s disappointing that we won't have a World Champs this year, but age-group rugby is a different beast and I’m very excited to get stuck in as soon as possible," said Nhleko.

"I really enjoy the challenges and pleasures of working with the youngsters, especially in South Africa where we have a rich heritage of wonderful junior players."

Meanwhile, Ngcobo sees the promotion as the perfect opportunity for him to improve his skills as a coach.

"I see this as a great opportunity to grow as a coach, to keep on working with experienced people such as Neil Powell, Renfred Dazel and Marius, and to help ensure our pipeline of untapped talent providing players for the Blitzboks runs smoothly," Ngcobo said.

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

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