Rassie Erasmus

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Rassie Erasmus
Birth name Johan Erasmus
Date of birth (1972-10-05) 5 October 1972 (age 45)
Place of birth Despatch, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Height 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 99 kg (15 st 8 lb)
University University of the Free State
Occupation(s) Director of Rugby, head coach
Rugby union career
Position(s) Flanker, Number 8
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
1994–98, 2001–03
1998–2000
Free State
Golden Lions
112
7
()
Correct as of 1 August 2018
Super Rugby
Years Team Apps (Points)
1997
1998–2001
2003
Free State
Cats
Stormers
7
46
4
(10)
(45)
Correct as of 16 October 2007
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1997–2001 South Africa 36 (35)
Correct as of 16 October 2007
Teams coached
Years Team
2004–2006
2006–2007
2007
2007–2010
2008–2011
2011
2016–2017
2017–Present
2018–Present
2018
Free State Cheetahs
Cheetahs
South Africa (Tech. Adviser)
Western Province
Stormers
South Africa (Tech. Specialist)
Munster
South Africa (DOR)
South Africa
Barbarians

Johan 'Rassie' Erasmus (born 5 November 1972) is a South African rugby union coach and former international player. He is the former Director of Rugby of Irish provincial side Munster, having previously served as General Manager: High Performance Teams for South African Rugby Union. As of 2018, Erasmus is the South African national team's head coach, doubling up on his duties as the first ever SARU Director of Rugby, which he was appointed towards the end of 2017.

Playing career

Erasmus started his elite rugby career with the Free State during the 1994 Currie Cup. By the turn of professionalism in rugby union in 1995, Erasmus continued to develop as a leading loose forward for his province, and was selected for the Free State's debut season in the 1997 Super 12 season. By July 1997, he had been called up for national duties with the Springboks ahead of the 1997 British Lions tour to South Africa. With the series already won by the Lions ahead of the third test, Erasmus made his test debut on the 5 July Johannesburg, which the home side won 35–16. In his next match for the Springboks, on 23 August that same year, Erasmus played the Wallabies, starting at flank, and scoring a try for South Africa in only his second match, which the Boks went on to win 61–22 in Pretoria. With that win, Erasmus featured in 15 of the 17-match consecutive win streak the Springboks recorded between 1997 and late 1998. Had it not been for a 13–7 defeat to England on 5 December, the Springboks would have completed a first Grand Slam tour victory since their 1960–61 tour. During that time, South Africa secured their first Tri Nations title in 1998, with four from four victories.

Having firmly established himself as a starting flanker for the Boks, Erasmus joined the Cats ahead of the 1998 Super 12 season, where he continued to play his trade until 2001. In that time he was captain between 1999 and 2000, which saw the Cats make the 2000 Super 12 season semi-finals, only to lose to the Brumbies 28–5. In 2001, he was controversially striped of his captaincy during season, by coach Laurie Mains.[1] But despite making the semi-finals again that season, both Erasmus and Mains departed the club at the end of the season, with reports citing their relationship one of the reasons.[2]

In 1999, Erasmus was made captain for a single test against Australia during the 1999 Tri Nations Series. He was later named in the 30-man squad for the 1999 Rugby World Cup. He played in all but one games during the World Cup, which saw the Springboks bow out in the semi-final, losing to eventual champions, Australia 27–21, after extra time. In the third-place play-off, South Africa defeated New Zealand 22–18 to take third place.

After leaving the Cats at the end of the 2001 Super 12 season, and missing out on selection for the 2001 Tri Nations Series, Erasmus returned to the Free State ahead of the 2001 Currie Cup. Later that year he was selected for the Barbarians match against Australia, but later withdrew due to injury. After a stop start season in 2003, after being brought in by the Stormers for their 2003 Super 12 season, Erasmus retired at the end of that season after a professional career lasting almost ten years.

Playing honours

South Africa

Cats

Free State

Coaching career

Coaching in South Africa

Erasmus' coaching career began in 2004, after he became the head coach of his previous club, Free State Cheetahs, for the 2004 Vodacom Cup. In his first stint at coaching, he led his side to Semi-Finals of the Cup, only to lose to the Blue Bulls 23–20. In 2005, he made the step up to Currie Cup, leading the Free State to glory during the 2005 season. It was the Cheetahs first Cup title since 1976. The following year, Erasmus led the Cheetahs into their debut season in the Super 14 competition, finishing in tenth place with five wins from thirteen. Later that year the Free State Cheetahs retained their Currie Cup title, however had share the trophy with the Blue Bulls after the score remained even after extra time, 28–28, and no other criteria separating the teams. Following the 2007 Super 14 season, Erasmus left the Cheetahs set up after being appointed technical adviser to the Springboks ahead of the 2007 Rugby World Cup. However his time was cut short, after he joined the Western Province set-up as director of rugby effective immediately ahead of their 2007 Currie Cup campaign.[3][4]

He was also named the new Stormers head coach for the 2008 Super 14 season, where he helped improve the side to narrowly miss out on play-off places in the semi-final - lifting the team from their tenth place in 2007 to fifth in 2008. By mid 2009, Western Province and the Stormers revamped their structure, which saw Erasmus become a Senior professional coach for the region, and Allister Coetzee introduced as head coach for the province and Super Rugby side.[5] With this new system, the region gained great success in 2010, with both the Stormers and Western Province progressing to the finals, only to lose to come runner-up in their respective tournaments. Whilst in 2011, the Stormers became the leading South African side, topping their conference a making the semi-finals for a second consecutive year.

In April 2011, it was announced that Erasmus will be part of the Springboks management team at the 2011 Rugby World Cup as a technical specialist.[6] South Africa was knocked out by Australia in the quarter-finals, losing 9–11. Despite that he was meant to return to his duties with the Stormers and Western Province post World Cup, he quit the region in January 2012 to look for other coaching options.[7][8]

After Heyneke Meyer was named as Jake White's replacement in January 2012, Erasmus was appointed General Manager: High Performance teams, in April of that year.[9] Part of his role consists of acting as an assistant to Meyer when the Springboks are in training camps.

Move overseas

In April 2016, it was confirmed that Erasmus would be joining Irish provincial side Munster as the Director of Rugby on a three-year contract, beginning on 1 July 2016.[10] However, following the death of head coach Anthony Foley, Erasmus took on the duties of both Director of Rugby and head coach for the remainder of the season. He led his side to top of the pool 1 in the European Rugby Champions Cup finishing in second seed overall to advance to the Quarter-finals. There the beat Toulouse, 41–16, before losing to Saracens 26–10 in the semi-finals. The 2016–17 Pro12 proved more successful, topping the table at the end of the regular season with 19 victories, and defeating the Ospreys 23–3 in the semi-finals. Despite going into the final favorites, Munster were convincingly beaten by the Scarlets in the final, losing 46–22 at the Aviva Stadium.

On 7 May 2017, Erasmus won the 2016–17 Pro12 Coach of the Season award, an honour that was given to him at Guinness Pro12 Awards dinner in the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin.[11]

On 30 June 2017, it was confirmed that Erasmus would be leaving Munster in December 2017 to become South Africa's Director of Rugby, a position that has never been filled at SARU.[12][13]

Head coach of South Africa

Following the sacking of Allister Coetzee in February 2018, Rassie Erasmus was named head coach of the national team, alongside his duties as Director of Rugby at SA Rugby, on 1 March 2018.[14]

In his first match in charge, Erasmus gave thirteen players their first test cap, in a one-off match in Washington, D.C. against Wales, who won the test 22–20. A week later, he secured his first win, a 42–39 win over England, during their three-test series. The series title was clinched in the second test, with the Springboks winning 23–12, to secure a series victory. However, South Africa were unable to gain the clean-sweep, after losing the third test, 25–10.

International matches as Head Coach

Note: World Rankings Column shows the World Ranking South Africa was placed at on the following Monday after each of their matches

Record by Country

Opponent Played Won Drew Lost Win ratio (%) For Against
 Argentina 2 1 0 1 050.00 53 53
 England 3 2 0 1 066.67 75 76
 New Zealand 1 1 0 0 100.00 36 34
 Wales 1 0 0 1 000.00 20 22
TOTAL 6 3 0 3 050.00 148 151

Coaching honours

Free State Cheetahs

Stormers

Western Province

Munster

  • Pro12
  • Pro12 Coach of the Season award
    • Winner: 2017

References

  1. ^ Mains, Erasmus deny talk of Cat-fight in camp
  2. ^ Cats' Erasmus confirms fallout with Laurie Mains
  3. ^ Rassie out of World Cup
  4. ^ Saru, WP set poor example
  5. ^ Stormers retain coaching & management team
  6. ^ Rassie Erasmus to work with Boks at world cup
  7. ^ Rassie shocks WP by quitting
  8. ^ Rassie quits Stormers
  9. ^ Rassie appointed to Saru management
  10. ^ "Director Of Rugby Appointed". munsterrugby.ie. 25 April 2016. Archived from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  11. ^ "Erasmus Honoured At Guinness PRO12 Awards". munsterrugby.ie. 8 May 2017. Retrieved 8 May 2017. 
  12. ^ "Confirmed: Rassie Erasmus to leave Munster for Springbok Director of Rugby role". Irish Independent. 30 June 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  13. ^ "Rassie Erasmus on Munster exit: 'If they say I must go tomorrow, then I will go'". Irish Examiner. 22 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  14. ^ Rassie Erasmus confirmed as new Springbok coach

External links

  • Springbok Rugby Hall of Fame
  • Munster Profile
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Corné Krige
Springbok Captain
1999
Succeeded by
Joost van der Westhuizen
Preceded by
South Africa Allister Coetzee
South Africa National Rugby Union Coach
2018–
Succeeded by
Incumbent
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