Allister Coetzee remains as Springboks coach

Springbok Coach Allister Coetzee. Clive Rose/Getty Images

The South Africa Rugby Union has announced Allister Coetzee will continue as Springboks coach for 2017 with Cheetahs boss Franco Smith joining his backroom staff.

Coetzee's job was under threat after a dismal 2016 which saw them lose eight Test matches. SARU said it would investigate the reasons behind this poor campaign, but has come out in support of Coetzee, who will continue planning for their June Test series against France.

And Coetzee will have a new-look coaching team behind him with Smith linking up on a formal basis after joining the Boks on a temporary deal for their end-of-year Tests.

"Our coaching review was focused on the Springboks and we identified two areas to give Allister Coetzee additional support at the head of our most prized national asset," said SA Rugby president Mark Alexander. "Franco Smith will continue the work he began with the backs and attack at the end of last year while we are very excited about the new defensive coach we have identified to address matters raised during the review. We expect to be able to confirm that appointment shortly.

"I would like to apologise to our supporters for the delay in this announcement but assure them that it was necessitated not by a lack of clarity of intent, but by the need to first resolve all contractual issues.

"The outcomes we now have were agreed with Allister some weeks ago."

The Springboks will look to appoint a new defence coach in due course with Brendan Venter rumoured to be in contention while Johan van Graan -- who has been heavily linked with the vacant Leicester Tigers job -- also continues in his backroom role for the Boks.

Lions boss Johan Ackermann continues in his role in charge of South Africa's 'A' side with Chean Roux taking over the coaching post for the Junior Springboks.

"Last year was an incredibly tough one for the Springboks and all of the rugby community suffered," Alexander continued. "We weighed many factors in the review process but we believe that these changes will strengthen the Springbok management hand.

"The new alignment at both a coaching and conditioning level with the franchises will also provide critical support to the national team."