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'If there's ever a bloke': The RWC three-peat may finally be within reach

By Ned Lester
Rassie Erasmus, Director of Rugby, looks on prior to the Summer International match between New Zealand All Blacks v South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on August 25, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The Springboks became just the second team in history to win consecutive Rugby World Cups with their 12-11 victory over the All Blacks in Paris last month. A three-peat has never been achieved.

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Instrumental in both victories was South African coach – and recently Director of Rugby – Rassie Erasmus. The unconventional and influential rugby mind has just been reinstated as head coach for the team and will look to trailblaze a new kind of history in 2027’s Rugby World Cup in Australia.

South Africa already have the highest success rate in Rugby World Cup history, winning four of the eight tournaments they have participated in. A win in 2027 would advance their claim as the best rugby nation of the modern era to an undeniable extent, and push Erasmus’ legacy to previously unscaled heights.

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RWC Final – New Zealand v South Africa

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“I just think, man he loves what he does,” Former All Black James Parsons said of the Springbok coach on the Aotearoa Rugby Pod. “We’ve spoken at length about how he is his own man and I admire that about him.

“The exciting thing is the story that can be told over the next four years, of him looking to do a three-peat, whether he’s Director of Rugby or whatever, we all know he was a big part of both those World Cup wins and you wouldn’t put it past him.

“If there’s ever a bloke that could probably go three in a row, it would be him.”

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With the bulk of the 2023 winning team also featuring in the 2019 final, age is not on many of the players’ side. Veteran loose forward Duane Vermeulen has already announced his retirement.

The Springboks were by far the oldest squad at the Rugby World Cup, entering the tournament as the only team with an average age of over 30.

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There is likely to be a significant amount of turnover within the national ranks between now and 2027, but with Erasmus on board to steer the ship, the young players will inherit a winning foundation and a progressive plan.

“The thing is, the best coaches do front load a lot of this so that when it comes to when you’re actually going and living through it, the plan’s there, it’s just then executing and staying on task,” Parsons added.

“He’s an innovator. He likes to be first, not just in winning but he likes to do things first. He likes to lead the way and be that step ahead.

“It’s an exciting time for South African rugby, and I think the public will be the happiest. We know that their fans are pretty passionate and they all love Rassie, so it’s a big win for them.”

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