Springbok Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus confirmed that he will be stepping down as coach following Rugby World Cup 2019. In this in-depth interview, he sat down with Supersport‘s Matthew Pearce to discuss all the trials and tribulations of his first season in charge.
In a candid discussion, Erasmus cleared the air on a number of hot topics that have come up in the media and with the fans this year. He goes deep on team selection, transformation and leadership within the Springbok camp.
Match by match, Erasmus and Pearce dissect the season as the former Springbok flanker gives great insight into the thought processes behind some decisions that may have perplexed or frustrated fans at various points in the season.
While the Springboks only had a 50% win record this year, the general consensus is positive as they build towards the world cup, after a season that included a series win over England and an away win over New Zealand.
“We can lose against anybody currently, and we can beat anybody currently,” said Erasmus when referring to where they are at now, ahead of next year’s showpiece tournament.
Other big topics also discussed in this fascinating 1:14 minutes chat:
- Deliberately not taking a strong team to Washington for the Wales match
- That Bongi Mbonambi overthrow against Australia that cost a try, and him then being substituted
- How beating New Zealand away was effectively their key focus of the Rugby Championship
- Siya Kolisi being the first black Springbok captain because he deserved it, not because of race
- The contentious issue of ‘Transformation’, whereby 45% of the 2018 team should have been of colour. For the 2019 RWC, 50% of the team has to be non-white, according to the government.
“The transformation goal has been achieved, maybe not the number (45% in 2018) but the goal has been achieved and I must take the flak for the number, but I’m not going to cheapen transformation because the number couldn’t be reached”.
- Erasmus talks about considering players based overseas, eg: Montpellier’s Jan Serfontein
- The RWC 2019 draw and his future after the tournament
It’s an honest chat and one that was probably much needed for South African rugby fans.