Cape Town - Jacques Nienaber is reportedly in the inside lane to become the next head coach of the Springboks.

Current coach Rassie Erasmus has already announced that he will step down as head coach to instead focus on his Director of Rugby role at SA Rugby.

The new coach will report directly to Erasmus and according to Netwerk24, current defence coach Nienaber is the likely candidate to step into the head coaching role.

Erasmus and Nienaber have a long history, having first met in the army before crossing paths at the University of the Free State's Shimlas team where Nienaber was the physiotherapist and Erasmus the captain.

When Erasmus became coach of the Free State Cheetahs, he appointed Nienaber as strength and conditioning coach, with the latter later shifting his focus to the team's defensive structures.

Nienaber followed Erasmus to the Stormers and also Munster in Ireland, before starting at the Springboks last year.

South Africa's World Cup win was built on a staunch defensive structure and for that Nienaber deserves credit.

- Compiled by Herman Mostert