Springbok guru officially defects to England

Matt Proudfoot (Forward Coach) of South Africa during the South African national rugby team media conference at Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel on September 23, 2019 in Urayasu, Japan. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

Matt Proudfoot, a man credited for the Springboks’ brilliant forward play at the World Cup, didn’t have his contract renewed at SA Rugby.

While the Springboks look set to boast a settled coaching group for 2020, one of its key members has, as expected, been snapped up by the team they outplayed in the World Cup final, England.

Head coach Eddie Jones on Monday confirmed that former forwards guru Matt Proudfoot has joined his staff.

The 47-year-old, who played prop for Scotland, didn’t have his contract renewed by SA Rugby after he had initially joined whilst Allister Coetzee was still in charge of the national team.

His move to the UK had been rumoured for some time.

“England is probably the best team in world rugby to coach. Having coached against them you get to respect their identity so to get the opportunity to be part of that is a huge honour and privilege. I am really grateful to Eddie, the rest of the coaching staff and the RFU to be given this chance,” said Proudfoot.

“It is a decision I take with great humility and responsibility and know there is a huge legacy to live up to. I look forward to taking that challenge on and doing England proud.”

Jones, whose side bore the brunt of the Springboks well-oiled pack in the showpiece match of the tournament in Japan, hailed Proudfoot’s “outstanding” career to date.

“Matt Proudfoot has had an outstanding coaching career to date culminating in being a World Cup-winning coach with South Africa.

“He brings great technical expertise and knowledge having coached in South Africa and Japan and having played in Scotland and South Africa. We feel he can take the forwards to another level,” said the Australian.

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