The appointment of Rassie Erasmus as Director of Rugby to oversee South African rugby’s eight national teams and participation and management of 20 competitions as well as the development of players, coaches and referees didn’t come as a surprise today.
There have been rumours for a while. Erasmus is returning to fill rugby development void. SA Rugby said in a statement. What development void? SA Rugby has been talking about development for the past two decades, even before democracy in 1994. Have they finally realised that their development plans are not working and thus lured Erasmus from Ireland to be their saving grace?
During his time in Ireland he was named as Guinness Pro12 Coach of the Year after leading Munster to the top the log for the first time in six years as well as to the semi-finals of the European Champions Cup. Munster won 26 out of 32 matches in all competitions.
Why was this appointment not made while Heyneke Meyer was coach? This is just one of the questions I have around this appointment. The other despite his record in Ireland what has Erasmus achieved coaching in South Africa? If you look at his record not much. He won the Currie Cup with the Cheetahs more than a decade ago, that’s it. In his stint as Director of Rugby at WP Rugby also did not produce great results.
Allister Coetzee’s position as Springbok coach remains unchanged, said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby. Good for him but Rugby in South Africa has been going backwards before Coetzee became coach in 2016.
It’s an open secret that Erasmus left South Africa when he didn’t get the Springbok job. He wasn’t good enough then, but now he’s good enough to be in charge of eight national teams and lets not forget “fill rugby development void.”
2016 is the worst year in the history of Springbok Rugby. “Allister has done a great job to turn the Springboks around this season and I can categorically put to rest any idea that he is being replaced as Springbok coach,” said Roux.
Springbok Rugby will never be able to compete against the likes of England and the All Blacks if this is the thinking of the leadership at SA Rugby. Imagine Steve Hanson or Eddie Jones reporting to a Director of Rugby.
All I can say is good luck to Allister Coetzee, he got the dreaded kiss of death from Jurie Roux when he said, “We will do everything in our power to support him for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship and everything that lies beyond that.”