The assembly of eukaryotic ribosomes is a hierarchical process involving about 200 biogenesis factors and a series of remodeling steps. The 5S RNP consisting of the 5S rRNA, RpL5 and RpL11 is recruited at an early stage, but has to rearrange during maturation of the pre-60S ribosomal subunit. Rpf2 and Rrs1 have been implicated in 5S RNP biogenesis, but their precise role was unclear. Here, we present the crystal structure of the Rpf2–Rrs1 complex from Aspergillus nidulans at 1.5 Å resolution and describe it as Brix domain of Rpf2 completed by Rrs1 to form two anticodon-binding domains with functionally important tails. Fitting the X-ray structure into the cryo-EM density of a previously described pre-60S particle correlates with biochemical data. The heterodimer forms specific contacts with the 5S rRNA, RpL5 and the biogenesis factor Rsa4. The flexible protein tails of Rpf2–Rrs1 localize to the central protuberance. Two helices in the Rrs1 C-terminal tail occupy a strategic position to block the rotation of 25S rRNA and the 5S RNP. Our data provide a structural model for 5S RNP recruitment to the pre-60S particle and explain why removal of Rpf2–Rrs1 is necessary for rearrangements to drive 60S maturation.