South Africa’s National Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus was officially confirmed as being in charge of the Springboks until the 2019 World Cup is over.
Erasmus’s support team of coaches was also announced, which included a trio of men who are all already permanently employed in SA Rugby’s High Performance Unit.
Erasmus will take over from Allister Coetzee, who was axed as coach after winning just 11 of his 25 Tests.
Keo.co.za reported before Coetzee’s firing that Erasmus would oversee the Boks’ 2019 World Cup challenge.
Sport24 quoted former Springbok World Cup-winning legend Victor Matfield in applauding the merits of Erasmus’s rugby coaching pedigree.
Matfield described Erasmus as the best technical coach in South Africa.
‘Technically, there is not a better coach in South Africa than ‘Rassie’,’ said Matfield. ‘In fact, he is one of the best in the world.
‘If Eddie Jones can turn England around in one season, ‘Rassie’ can do the same with the Springboks. There is enough time (before the 2019 World Cup) to get them back on track.’
Erasmus, who was previously the National High Performance Manager at SARU, took up the post of Director of Rugby at Munster in 2016 and 2017. His role also included being head coach after the death of Anthony Foley. Erasmus won 21 of his 26 matches in charge of Munster in 2016/17, finished first in the Pro12 league, took the team to the final of the Pro 12 and also the semi-finals of the Champions Cup.
Erasmus’s first Test in charge will be against Wales in Washington on June 2, but Erasmus is unlikely to field his first choice team for that Test, as the Springboks start the three-Test series against England in Johannesburg a week later.
Erasmus told the media: ‘It is a huge task to coach the Springboks and I am very privileged.
‘I really believe we have the players and the rugby IP (intellectual property) to turn things around and to mount a serious challenge at next year’s Rugby World Cup.
‘We have 18 Tests and just under 600 days until Japan 2019 and although a lot of planning has already gone into our Rugby World Cup preparation, it is very important that we prepare thoroughly for the matches against Wales and England in June.’
Here’s how Sport24 reflected the new Bok coaching structure.