The small town of Despatch, outside Port Elizabeth, has reason to celebrate. Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus was born and bred in the town.
Erasmus became the third Springbok coach to win the World Cup after the likes of Jake White and the late Kitch Kristie.
It all started at the Despatch High School. Not only has the school produced good quality players, they now can boast one of their own is the Springbok coach. His contribution to the game cannot be overlooked.
Former coach Coenie Strumpher says, “As a rugby player he was excellent, he was a good leader at our school. He was as prefect at our school and that came through on the rugby field as well. He was the one that organised a whole rugby side – the first team of our school and I saw the potential in him and I knew that time he will make it.”
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Neighbour Dawie Human remembers, “He just loved rugby. Because in Despatch, everyone just loved rugby, so we had good rugby clubs. We all loved rugby and he was also like us and we actually just loved the game and that’s where his passion actually came from.”
Rugby coach Elric Van Veeran says, “This is massive for Despatch – small community and also for the younger guys like us and the kids here. It’s a lot of belief to us that we, from Despatch, can also make high standards and achieve high goals.”
Even before the Springboks thumped England in the World Cup final, Erasmus was a hero in his community and his name will be engraved in the the Despatch Hall of Fame. – Reporting by Siviwe Songwiqi in Port Elizabeth.