Rassie Erasmus will step down from his role as coach of the Springboks after next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The former Munster director of rugby took over as South Africa coach from Allister Coetzee in February, and led the side through the Rugby Championship this year, where they finished second and managed to pull off an impressive win over the All Blacks. The Autumn Series tour to the northern hemisphere brought wins over France and Scotland but narrow defeats to England and Wales.
I’m only head coach until the World Cup next year,” Erasmus said. “The moment I am finished with this [head coach role] and for the next six months, I will be involved with [the other SA Rugby structures] a lot.”
“For somebody from the outside to all of a sudden have just 18 Test matches to prepare the team for the World Cup, I didn’t think that would be fair to that coach. It would have been a ‘suicide job’. And for myself, who’s been in the position before [as director], it made sense when they asked me.”
Eramsus will remain in his primary role - as Director of Rugby at SA Rugby - after next year’s tournament. He is contracted to stay in that role until 2023.
Erasmus revealed he and his assistants will also spread out across the country’s four Super Rugby teams to offer support as they look to harmonise preparations for next year’s World Cup in Japan.
Erasmus and assistants Jacques Nienanber, Matt Proudfoot, Mzwandile Stick, and Aled Walters will work with the Bulls, Lions, Sharks, and Stormers, who have started preparations for the new season starting in February.
Erasmus’s first posting will be to help new Bulls coach Pote Human, who replaces John Mitchell, who left to join the England coaching staff.
“All of the coaches worked with one or other of the franchises in the past year to exchange ideas and expertise and hopefully assist the teams in raising the performance bar,” Erasmus said.
“Strong performances at franchise level will translate into strong Springbok performances – it’s a win-win.” Erasmus said the coaches would in no way be dictating style or tactics or trying to impose a national blueprint on teams.
“We will assist in generic areas such as skills and conditioning, mauling, scrumming and lineouts,” Erasmus said.
“It will also give the national coaches a chance to discuss individual players with the franchise coaches and work on specific areas for specific individuals.
“But it is not our role to have input on selection or game plan – that can only be determined by the franchise head coach. But we do believe this is approach can work for South African rugby in its broadest sense at the start of a very important Rugby World Cup year.”