AAP Rugby

No transformation pressure on Bok coach

By AAP Newswire

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has been lauded for his work overseeing the transformation on South African rugby and told there will be no added pressure on him when he selects his 31-man Rugby World Cup squad.

Erasmus serves not only as Bok coach, but also as director of rugby for all national teams and that position has assisted in bringing through players of colour in all age-groups, putting him four years ahead of schedule.

"Rassie knows what to do, it is not necessary for us to remind him of transformation," said South African Rugby president Mark Alexander ahead of the squad naming on August 26.

"He is mature enough to fulfil his mandates and so far he has exceeded our expectations. So no, there won't be any pressure on him.

"Our run-on XV will in most games have the desired number of black players. In fact, because our players come through naturally and based on merit, we are actually beyond that desired number.

"Our plan was for 2023, but at this stage, there are four black captains in our national teams."

Erasmus has been set a target of 50 per cent black players in his match-day squads of 23 throughout 2019, though it is unclear what the consequences of missing this mark would be.

SA Rugby want to make the Boks more representative of the demographic of South Africa having come under pressure from government in a sport that was considered the symbol of whites during Apartheid.

Alexander also went on to praise Erasmus for his turnaround of the team, who won only 11 of 25 tests in the two years after the 2015 World Cup, but will go into the 2019 edition as Rugby Championship winners for the first time in a decade.

"Rassie started with a Bok team that wasn't really established, but he changed the culture of the team," Alexander said.

"Players play for the people and you can clearly see that they play for him. Rassie brought us back and the team is performing again, and the impact of that should not be underestimated."