It’s widely been reported that former All Blacks back Tony Brown is set to join the Springboks as an attack coach, with this appointment set to be made official within the next couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, former Ireland hooker Jerry Flannery – who previously worked with Rassie at Munster – has been linked to the defence coach role following the departure of Jacques Nienaber, who also covered this facet of the game. Locally, Jaque Fourie and Duane Vermeulen are other candidates mentioned as possible considerations, but it seems Flannery is now the front runner.

Flannery is currently defence coach with Harlequins – who are second in the English Premiership with the second best defence. He also previously worked under Rassie Erasmus at Munster in 2016/17.

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In his playing days, he featured in over 90 games for Munster, and in 41 Tests for Ireland before moving into coaching not long after retiring.

Interestingly, in July 2013, Flannery joined English football team Arsenal on a work placement as a strength and conditioning coach.

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He then returned to Munster as scrum coach and later signed a contract extension as his role expanded into a forwards coach.

Flannery left his coaching role with Munster in June 2019, and the next year joined Harlequins as their lineout coach, later evolving his role to include defence. He signed a new permanent contract with no end date with Harlequins in February 2022.

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So is Flannery now set to join the Springboks under Rassie?

Back in 2017, Flannery went into detail on the huge effect Erasmus had at Munster.

“He’s top class,” Flannery said. “It’s easy to say that he has a fantastic rugby brain. What he did, it was such a tough situation coming in with Axel. I went into the job unsure of how things were going to be. Axel’s been my mate and has been a consistent part of my life since I was 12-years-old.

“Munster brought Rassie in with a long-term view and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. When I met Rassie before I was deciding to stay with Munster again, I went, ‘This guy, he’s emotionally intelligent. He’s a good guy.’ When I spoke to Axel, he said, ‘Yeah, I like him.’ That was the main thing. You can learn about rugby but if the guy you’re working with is a dick, then you’re not going to get on with him.

“What he’s done is, he’s come in and empowered all of us as coaches. He empowered Axel. He helped develop me as a coach. He brought Felix Jones onboard. He’s brought Jacques Nienaber [defence coach] – who’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever come across in my life – into Munster.

“He creates an environment where hard work and honesty are rewarded. It genuinely is rewarded. When you look at the way teams have been selected, it’s not always the big names that get selected. It’s the guys who rock up, who train the hardest, who put Munster and the team before themselves. He’s been a huge asset to Munster this season.”

*Let us know in the comments sections whether you feel this would be a good option and who you feel might add value.

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  • Rassie Erasmus – Head coach
  • Mzwandile Stick – Assistant coach
  • Deon Davids – Assistant coach
  • Tony Brown – Attack coach
  • Daan Human – Scrum coach
  • Jerry Flannery – Defence coach
  • Andy Edwards – Head of Athletic Performance

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