Outgoing Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus says that winning the Rugby World Cup softens the blow of having to step down from his role. The 47-year-old is set to move back to his full-time job of Director of Rugby, after standing in over the past two years as coach of the team.

Erasmus had stepped in when Allister Coetzee was axed at the start of 2018 and helped lead the Boks to the world title in Japan.

He says he will miss being hands-on with the players, but adds that his new role will also require some degree of involvement at ground level with the team.

Erasmus and SA Rugby have so far remained tight-lipped over his successor. Reports surfacing in the past few days, however, have linked defence coach Jacques Nienaber as the man that will fill the role.

The two know each other well having worked together at several places, including the Stormers and Munster in Ireland. Erasmus says he was confident that whoever replaces him will be successful in the role.

Earlier this week, Erasmus was named Coach of the Year at the South Africa Sports Awards held at the Playhouse in Durban.

His captain Siya Kolisi, the first black player to skipper SA, was also a hit at the glamour event in KwaZulu-Natal, picking up the People’s Choice of the Year award, voted for by the public. It was one of a number of prizes they have picked up since winning the William Web Ellis trophy for the third time.

Erasmus was also named World Rugby’s Coach of the Year and the Springboks,  Team of the Year upon the conclusion of the World Cup in Japan. The former South African loose forward says accolades were not as important as unity in the country.

Kolisi, meanwhile, hailed the influence that Erasmus has had on his career, saying the outgoing coach will be missed.

The pair have a history together with the latter handed his break at both Western Province and the Stormers by  Erasmus when he was in charge of the Cape Town team between 2007 and 2011. – Report by Thahir Asmal