The Springboks will miss the presence of Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus for their last match of their end-of-year tour against England at Twickenham on Saturday evening. Erasmas has been banned from all rugby-related activities for two months after being brought up on misconduct charges following an hour-long video released in July – criticizing the refereeing during the first Test between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions.
Erasmus has become a talisman for South African rugby and the Springboks – since changing their fortunes and guiding them to World Cup glory in 2019. And the master tactician will certainly be missed by his charges and the rest of the coaching staff at Twickenham come Saturday evening.
“His presence makes a huge difference for us as a group, we know his insights in rugby there’s stuff that he sees that we don’t see on the field, it helps quite a lot. He is someone that’s played rugby at this level so he knows that just motivating us on the side of the field so when the subs are played you know as a player when you get taken off early all you keep thinking is what I did wrong. He is always there to come and chat and let you know this is what and it makes a huge difference. We will miss him but I know the coaching staff has plans on how we can work around it as a group,” Springbok captain Siya Kolisi explains.
Erasmus and SA Rugby will appeal the conviction and while no comments were made about the proceedings, assistant coach Mzwandile Stick says that his absence will be the motivation that drives the Boks against the English.
“Rassie is a very special guy for us in the team we know how much he cares for us for everyone and the spirit will always be there. The guy really cares about Springbok rugby, the Springbok family, his spirit will always be there. We love him, we have a lot of respect for him, it’s motivation for us to play even better. We know what he has done for us in the team, we will play for him for sure,” says Stick.
Stick also rubbished media reports saying the Springboks consider a relatively inexperienced England team – as weak.
“Good team, a strong side, they have special players, we have a lot of respect for them. We know it’s going to be tough playing them at Twickenham. I know for sure they have pride in what they do, it’s going to be a tough game for us. The key thing is to focus on what we can do better and hopefully, we can keep making the South African people proud,” Stick added.
Kick-off at Twickenham is at 5pm South African time.