Springbok Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus believes it’s the fans that fire coaches.
Cape Town – Rassie Erasmus says he would “like to have another go somewhere” else before he hangs up his coaching whistle.
The former Springbok loose forward is currently the Director of Rugby at the SA Rugby Union, where his main priority is ensuring that the Boks are successful and defend their Rugby World Cup crown in France later this year.
But with Jacques Nienaber being the Bok head coach, Erasmus has many other responsibilities as the director, where he oversees the various programmes such as the women’s game, sevens, youth teams and referees.
He was initially contracted until the end of 2023 along with Nienaber, but his lawyer Frikkie Erasmus told Rapport earlier this year that his deal is now until 2025, “but in terms of the terms of the contract, he has the right to end his contract earlier”.
In interviews with UK newspapers Daily Mail and The Times that were published on Sunday, Erasmus confirmed that he had spoken to Leicester Tigers about replacing Steve Borthwick, who is now the England coach.
Leicester have since appointed Dan McKellar, the former Brumbies boss and Wallaby forwards, to take over from July 1 as he opted to leave the Australian national team before the World Cup to move to Welford Road.
But while Erasmus is planning the Boks’ path for the defence of their World Cup crown, he is keeping his options open after that – having previously coached the Cheetahs, Stormers and Irish giants Munster before joining South Africa in 2018.
“I always believe that CEOs and coaches don’t fire coaches. Fans fire coaches, and the media feels what the fans are thinking and put pressure on. I’m very open that if it doesn’t go as well as it should, the fans might want somebody else. If it goes like that, I understand, but if it goes lekker, then that’s great,” Erasmus told the two UK publications.
“I would like to have another go somewhere. I’m 50. I think I’ve got another stint in me. If it’s here in South Africa, then great, fantastic, but I also understand it has to come to an end somewhere.”
Erasmus also confirmed that retired Welsh match official Nigel Owens has accepted the offer to become a referee consultant for the Boks this year, with the finer details being worked out at the moment.
And he explained how his battles with World Rugby in the past about the performances of match officials – which has seen him banned twice – and even his distinctive Afrikaans accent influences the perception overseas referees have of the Boks.
“We have to repair this because obviously there’s not a great relationship. When you’re South African, you see how South Africans see. Even the way I talk, sometimes people think it’s aggressive,” Erasmus said.
“When you’ve known me a while, you know it’s not aggressive. It is having another voice trying to get us not sound attacking or arrogant. We definitely want to change that view.
“If we get our way, we will have him (Owens) as soon as possible. I actually just emailed him. He said it’s a goer.
“We are very aligned with the way World Rugby’s going with safety, tackling, head contact, but it’s the perception of whether or not something’s Okay when we send it to World Rugby.
“Maybe Nigel could talk to them for us. There’s his knowledge in reviews, previews, videos. It would be great. It’s the way he communicates. It’s how people see us from the outside.
“Someone like Nigel might come in and say, ‘These guys are doing it right’, or he might say, ‘Hey guys, you have to change a few things here’.
“If anybody thinks it’s a smokescreen then we’re going to stop it immediately. It’s a genuine need for us to change.”
As for his popular Twitter posts, Erasmus was asked whether he might avoid letting the world know exactly how he feels about decisions at the World Cup on his social media account: “Errr … let’s open it up when everyone is nice and calm about everything. I’ll keep quiet … my mum is on my case!”