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Rassie Erasmus leads vote for greatest coach of all-time

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus currently leads a star-studded group of candidates in a poll for the greatest coach of all-time.


Home to the greatest rugby players of all-time, the RugbyPass Hall of Fame acknowledges and recognises the outstanding efforts of the trailblazers from the amateur era through to the global stars who light up the sport to this day.

Over the course of the past three weeks, players from past and present have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, with fans given the chance to vote for who they believe to be the best in each position from loosehead prop to fullback.

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Now, after the initial RugbyPass Hall of Fame All-Time Fan 1st XV was confirmed, fans have the chance to have their say as to which coach should be put in charge of the composite side.

After fans were given the chance to vote for who they believe to be the greatest coach in rugby history on Monday, Erasmus has taken an early lead in the polls, edging slightly ahead of former All Blacks boss Sir Steve Hansen.

Erasmus was the man credited with turning the fortunes of the Springboks when he replaced Alistair Coetzee at the helm of South African rugby following the side’s disastrous 2017 season, leading them to World Cup glory in Japan two years later.

Since then, Erasmus has moved into SA Rugby’s inaugural director of rugby role, making way for Jacques Neinaber to replace him as head coach, although he is still heavily involved in the Springboks’ set-up.


Erasmus holds a slender lead over Hansen, who guided the All Blacks to a remarkable run between 2012 and 2016, which included a 2015 World Cup title with what is widely-regarded as the best team in the history of the sport.

Hansen, a four-time World Rugby Coach of the Year, was also an assistant coach to the All Blacks for eight years between 2004 and 2011, winning a World Cup in his final year in that role under the tutelage of Sir Graham Henry.

Henry and his other World Cup-winning assistant Wayne Smith, an ex-All Blacks head coach who was also Hansen’s assistant at the 2015 World Cup, join Hansen as three of five New Zealand coaches inducted into the RugbyPass Hall of Fame.

The other two are the late Sir Brian Lochore, who guided the All Blacks to the inaugural World Cup title in 1987, and Warren Gatland, a three-time British and Irish Lions head coach and the longest-serving Wales head coach ever.


Erasmus, meanwhile, is joined by two compatriots of his own in the form of Kitch Christie and Jake White, two former Springboks head coaches who won World Cup titles with South Africa in 1995 and 2007, respectively.

Elsewhere, Australian trio Bob Dwyer, Rob McQueen and Eddie Jones have all been inducted into the RugbyPass Hall of Fame, with the former two winning World Cup titles with the Wallabies in 1991 and 1999, respectively.

The only other World Cup-winning coach, England’s Sir Clive Woodward, has also been admitted, as has former Scotland and British and Irish Lions stalwart Sir Ian McGeechan.

The door remains open for other players to become RugbyPass Hall of Famers, so register now to have your say and vote for your favourite inductee in the Fan 1st XV.

Current RugbyPass Hall of Fame All-Time Fan 1st XV

1. Os du Randt (South Africa, 1994-2007)
2. Sean Fitzpatrick (New Zealand, 1986-1997)
3. Owen Franks (New Zealand, 2009-2019)
4. Eben Etzebeth (South Africa, 2012-present)
5. Victor Matfield (South Africa, 2001-2015)
6. Jerome Kaino (New Zealand, 2004-2017)
7. Richie McCaw (New Zealand, 2001-2015)
8. Mamuka Gorgodze (Georgia, 2003-2019)
9. Aaron Smith (New Zealand, 2012-present)
10. Dan Carter (New Zealand, 2003-2015)
11. Jonah Lomu (New Zealand, 1994-2002)
12. Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand, 2003-2015)
13. Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland, 1999-2014)
14. David Campese (Australia, 1982-1996)
15. Christian Cullen (New Zealand, 1996-2002)

Coach: Rassie Erasmus (South Africa)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Stadium: 22.12.2021


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