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Rugby: Irishman Jones joins South Africa as defence consultant

Rugby: Irishman Jones joins South Africa as defence consultant
FILE PHOTO: Ireland's Felix Jones (C) runs with the ball during their international rugby test match against Georgia at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin November 16, 2014. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton -
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Cathal McNaughton(Reuters)
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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa have appointed Felix Jones as a defence consultant for the Rugby World Cup, reuniting the former Ireland international fullback with head coach Rassie Erasmus after their time together at Munster.

His arrival comes after attack coach Swys de Bruin quit earlier this month citing personal and health reasons.

“I spoke to the players after Swys decided to step down and the consensus was that we didn’t want a new attack coach,” said Erasmus in a South African Rugby media release on Wednesday.

“The feeling was that bringing in someone in that role now with new ideas now would be destabilising at this last stage of the preparations.

“But they were interested in having more analysis of defensive patterns and structures to assist in breaking down the opposition.”

Jones, 32, won 13 caps for Ireland and was part of the 2015 Six Nations title-winning squad. He also turned out for Irish sides Leinster and Munster.

After being forced to retire at the age of 28 due to a neck injury he went straight into the coaching staff at Munster, where he worked under Erasmus for the 2016/17 season.

Jones helped Munster to three consecutive Heineken Cup semi-finals before leaving the province in June.

“Felix will bring a fresh eye to our analysis and planning, and I am looking forward to his input,” said Erasmus. “He is a real student of the game and I believe the players will benefit from his contribution.”

The Springboks open their World Cup campaign against New Zealand in Yokohama on Sept. 21. They have also been pooled with Italy, Namibia and Canada.

(Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Peter Rutherfordpeter.rutherford@thomsonreuters.com; +822 6936 1482)

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