By NZ Herald

Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus was reportedly undergoing chemotherapy during his side’s triumphant campaign at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.


South Africa claimed their third World Cup title after beating England in the final but according to South African newspaper Rapport, Erasmus was facing a serious health scare at the time.

The 47-year-old, who became Springbok director of rugby after the tournament, was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called microscopic polyangiitis with granulomatosis in early 2019, according to Rapport.

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The disease can severely impact the lungs, kidneys, sinuses and trachea.

Although not being cancerous, Erasmus reportedly has a rare strain of the disease and it put into doubt whether he would coach at the World Cup.

According to the Rapport, Erasmus continued with the treatment until March this year and it was considered successful.

The Springboks went on to defeat the English 32-12 in the tournament’s final in Yokohama, clinching their first world crown since 2007.


Erasmus has since moved into a director of rugby role with South Africa Rugby, with assistant coach Jacques Nienaber taking over the head coach role.

This article first appeared on and was republished with permission.

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