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Rassie Erasmus makes astonishing claim about 2019 Rugby World Cup

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Rassie Erasmus has made a startling claim about the Springboks’ victory at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The SA director of rugby, who was the national team’s head coach at the finals in Japan, was last month filmed addressing the current squad at its first alignment training camp ahead of the upcoming 2023 finals in France.


The behind-the-scenes footage is part of the latest episode of Inside the Boks, the documentary series charting the South African national team as it looks to successfully defend its world title. In the latest 24-minute episode, Erasmus was filmed on February 19 at the Cullinan Hotel in Cape Town addressing a raft of domestically based Springboks such as Eben Etzebeth, Bongi Mbonambi and Damian Willemse.

In it, he outlined his outlook for 2023 and astonishingly claimed that the Springbo0ks’ 2019 victory was a bonus as the glory that management had targeted upon taking charge in 2018 was Rugby World Cup 2023.

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Bismarck du Plessis opens up on that controversal yellow card
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Bismarck du Plessis opens up on that controversal yellow card

Addressing the squad while standing next to a whiteboard that he filled liberally with buzzwords, Erasmus began: “How we are thinking of preparing in 2023 was actually started thinking in 2018. When we were appointed as coaches, we started thinking about 2023. 2019 was a bonus, but 2023 was always our big plan. We were looking at our squad age and when the guys were going to mature, what we have to bring in.

“We want to go to the (2023) World Cup and win. We want to be the first team in history to win it four times. We want to be the first coaches to go back-to-back and have lots of guys with back-to-back. It is not personal challenges we are taking on, it’s a bunch of guys who want to be the best team in history. We have worked in 2022 and 2021 and 2020 but we plan for 2023.”

Later in the segment, Erasmus wrote the words supporters, media and referees on the whiteboard and explained to the Springboks squad why. “You might ask why are you putting them under the dotted line? If we play like we can and we get the right squad together and we coach our arses off and the management/support staff support all of us here the supporters will be there.

“It is our job to make sure they are part of us. They give opinions and tear us apart and do all those other things, but they are there for us. We know that.


“Our opponents should be those six teams and the team we play in the World Cup. They should be our only opponents, the only people we coach against, fight against, not fight, we can go to war with, beat them, go lift the trophy and drink on the bus. That should be the only thing that should stop us. Not the referee, not the media, not our supporters, especially not the coaches, the management team.

“Don’t let something stupid, don’t let another meeting deflate you. We knew what we did in 2019. We know now in 2023 that we are already 70 per cent, I promise you 70 per cent better organised as a team.

“There are going to be alignment camps and you are going to go home at weekends and most of you should go to the World Cup, so if you can just suck it up and make a really great effort, we rate being a warrior. You have never been part of a team that has evolved so much, that has got the abilities going into this year.

“I’m going to finish with this, we said on the end-of-year tour for those who play golf, you put it on the first fairway, you take your driver and for 2023 you hit your ball in the middle of the fairway and the World Cup lies on the green.


“What does the middle of the fairway look like? You are fresh and the plan now is we can put every team under pressure, we are a little more open-minded and we know each other (better).”


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