Bryan Habana 'not surprised' by Nienaber's impending departure

Bryan Habana 'not surprised' by Nienaber's impending departure

South African great Bryan Habana says he is not surprised by Jacques Nienaber's impending departure as Springbok head coach after the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

On Saturday, news broke of Nienaber's decision to join Irish province Leinster after the global showpiece in France later this year.

Nienaber started his coaching career as a defence coach with the Cheetahs and had a similar position at the Stormers and Munster.

He also had stints as an assistant coach with the Springboks at the 2011 and 2019 Rugby World Cups before taking over from Rassie Erasmus as the Boks' head coach in 2020.

"I'm definitely not surprised," Habana told AFP.

"It's a massive opportunity for him, in my opinion, to come out of Rassie Erasmus' shadow and really show his characteristics and ability as a strategic coach, [and] manager."

According to sources in South Africa, SA Rugby will not consider a foreign coach for the position.

Current Springbok assistant coaches Mzwandile Stick and Deon Davids are among the candidates being touted to replace Nienaber, as well as Stormers boss John Dobson and Bulls head coach Jake White, who guided the Boks to victory at the 2007 World Cup in France.

"It will be interesting to see who that next person is," Habana said.

"Is it from this current crop? Mzwandile Stick, Deon Davids?

"John Dobson is going really well with the Stormers. Jake White will probably want to throw his hat in the ring.

"It's always going to be a tough decision."