Allister Coetzee appointed new South Africa coach on four-year deal
Allister Coetzee will spearhead an "exciting new departure for South Africa rugby" after being appointed as the new Springboks head coach.
The former Stormers boss will head up South Africa's new coaching team for the next four years, and will be immediately tasked with revamping the squad after three pivotal retirements.
Coetzee succeeds Heyneke Meyer and must find a way to replace the experience and nous of the now-retired three former Springbok captains Victor Matfield, Jean de Villiers and Fourie du Preez.
The 52-year-old, part of Jake White's backroom staff when South Africa won the 2007 World Cup, must also work towards meeting the transformation targets of non-white players comprising 50 per cent of squads by 2019.
"Allister's appointment marks the changing of the guard at the top of Springbok rugby and is an exciting new departure for South Africa rugby," said South Africa Rugby president Oregan Hoskins.
"It is a watershed moment for our game with new players developing alongside a spine of experience and it was the right time to have a new man guiding the Springboks for the foreseeable future.
"Allister was the outstanding candidate in terms of his rugby credentials, his understanding of our unique South African transformation imperatives and also in the image he will present as Springbok coach.
"I am delighted to welcome him back into the Springbok fold.
"The Springbok coaching job is an enormous challenge but Allister has the full support of us at SA Rugby and we will be united in our efforts to continue to make Springbok rugby strong.
"I want to wish him well in his new job, I also want to pay tribute to Heyneke (Meyer) and his management team for their dedication and service to Springbok rugby the past four years."
Coetzee has helped oversee 66 matches in the Springboks fold, in stints with the national team in 2000 and between 2004 and 2007.
The South Africa Rugby Union (SARU) had effectively agreed his post as head coach in December but have been forced to delay ratification while agreeing his release from Japanese club Kobelco Steelers.
Former Springboks Sevens captain Mzwandile Stick joins Coetzee's set-up as backs coach, while Johann van Graan will continue to take control of the forwards.
The new boss' first challenge will be to prepare the Springboks to host Ireland on their three-Test tour in June.
"This job comes with a huge amount of responsibility because our passionate fans rightfully demand the best from the Springboks at all times," said Coetzee, taking over after South Africa finished third at Rugby World Cup 2015.
"Rugby ignites so much passion in our country. The team inspires all our people and every young rugby player in our country aspires to be a Springbok one day.
"I know full well that coaching the Springboks requires a lot of dedication, patience and hard work. I am very excited and grateful for this opportunity."