Cape Town - Former Springbok assistant coach Brendan Venter says Rassie Erasmus has earned the right to decide who the team's next head coach should be.

Earlier this month, Erasmus led the Springboks to Rugby World Cup glory in Japan but he has indicated that he'll step down as head coach to focus on his role as SA Rugby's director of rugby.

Reports have indicated that Jacques Nienaber, the current defence coach, will be the next Springbok head coach.

"Erasmus is in charge and whenever you get a strong leader making good decisions people follow him. If he wants to appoint defence coach Jacques Nienaber, South African Rugby must let him," Venter wrote in a column for New Zealand's website.

The former Bok centre added: "Even if he hadn't won the World Cup, Rassie has earned the right to call the shots because he has got everybody pulling in the same direction. The fact is you need direction and leadership and that is what he has afforded this group."

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.

In his column, Venter also shared his views on who should become the next All Blacks coach.

According to Venter, it's a "three-horse race" between Ian Foster, Jamie Joseph and Scott Robertson, with the latter his preferred candidate.

Foster was New Zealand's assistant coach under Steve Hansen, Joseph took Japan to the World Cup quarter-finals, while Robertson has won three consecutive Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders.

READ Brendan Venter’s full column on the website

- Compiled by Herman Mostert