Rassie Erasmus must stay on as the Springboks coach beyond the World Cup.
Erasmus’ official title is director of rugby – a six-year deal that will see him in charge of all rugby-playing matters until 2023.
The 46-year-old has only stood in as coach since getting the job as director in early 2018 following the sacking of Allister Coetzee.
He has made it clear on many previous occasions he will not be a hands-on coach from next year, but whether the Boks win the World Cup or not, I believe Erasmus should reconsider.
Under his guidance the Boks have become a happy, winning, respected and transformed team, and moving himself into an office to do ‘director things’ could very easily upset the harmony and upwards curve of the current national side.
Several names have popped up in conversation as possible candidates to take over from Erasmus next year, like former Lions boss Johan Ackermann, current defence coach Jacques Nienaber, former Kings man Deon Davids and others, but why not just continue with Erasmus?
From my vantage point, it looks like Erasmus and the Bok players have a very healthy and strong relationship, which has transferred to the training.
Erasmus is open and honest with his players, and there appears to be a whole lot of trust between them – everyone knows where they stand, what’s required of them and there are no hidden agendas.
Just two years ago, the Boks were a mess, plain and simple.
Now they’re being talked about as one of the favourites going into the World Cup.
They have matched everything the “mighty and all-conquering” New Zealand have done and achieved in recent times, and have registered sound wins against Australia and Argentina this year.
Erasmus has built depth in the national squad not seen in years.
If the current larger Bok training group is kept intact, with obviously one or two men falling out and calling it quits and other juniors coming into the picture, the Boks have the players to dominate the game for years to come.
Perhaps, considering what’s happened in the Rugby Championship this year, with the All Blacks taking a dip and the Wallabies also showing an upwards curve, this is the start of a new era with the Boks being on top and New Zealand playing catch-up?
Having Erasmus as the man in charge – as an on-field coach or director (or call him what you will) – though, will be crucial to get the best out of this group of players; the majority of which will be in their prime come the 2023 World Cup.
The question is, why go and change something that is obviously and clearly working so well, and can only, honestly, get better?