Monday 21 January 2019

Rassie Erasmus to step down as South Africa head coach after next year's World Cup

South Africa's head coach Rassie Erasmus. Photo:AFP/Getty Images
South Africa's head coach Rassie Erasmus. Photo:AFP/Getty Images
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Former Munster boss Rassie Erasmus will step down as Springboks coach after next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Erasmus made the announcement in an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with SuperSport commentator Matt Pearce.

"I'm only head coach until the World Cup next year," he said, noting that he has a six-year contract only as Director of Rugby.

His role as Director of Rugby requires him to work with all structures within Springbok rugby but has been unable to this in 2018 since taking over as head coach after Allister Coetzee was sacked.

"When I was appointed Director of Rugby ... at that stage I still thought Allister Coetzee was continuing," Erasmus said. "The leadership asked Allister to step down, and then asked me to step in.

"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."

Erasmus also said that he took over from Coetzee because it would have been unfair to appoint a coach and give him so little time to prepare for next year's World Cup.

"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," he added.

"Obviously, the flagship of SA Rugby is the Springboks. That was the first stop that we had to fix; the previous year, the only teams we beat were Italy, France and Argentina. It was a year and half out from the World Cup, we were also smashed by the All Blacks and Ireland, so it was the first port of call to fix the Springboks."

Erasmus has overseen an improvement in the Springbok's fortunes.

They beat New Zealand in Wellington in the Rugby Championship, beat England twice in the summer and lost narrowly to the All Blacks in Pretoria.

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