South African Rugby DoR Rassie Erasmus has revealed the former team-mate he would love to have coached. In a new South African Rugby podcast Erasmus was asked which former colleague he would most like to have coached and his answer might surprise.
In fact, Erasmus ended up coaching a number of high profile teammates just a year after he retired in 2003, albeit in the Currie Cup.
“I was 32 when I stopped playing and the next year I coached the Currie Cup. In 2004 I played my last Currie Cup game and in the final against the Bulls, which we lost. The next year, I coached the Cheetahs in the Currie Cup final.
“So the previous year I was the captain. I played with Naka Drotske and Os du Randt and all of those guys, and then the next year I started coaching them, so that weird. There were two or three guys that were older than me in the team. That was at Currie Cup level, which took some getting used to.”
The now 47-year-old enjoyed a decade long career in the backrow, which saw him pick up 36 Springbok caps and gave him the chance to play with some now-legendary South African rugby names. However, his choice is a little leftfield.
Erasmus said he would have loved to coach Werner Swanepoel, who won 20-caps for the Springboks between 1997 and 2000. Swanepoel’s career coincided with the late, great Joost van der Westhuizen, and it ultimately limited how much game time he had on the pitch.
“At Springbok level, I think the most interesting person would be, because I know his personality, would be Werner Swanepoel, because he’s a nice person to be around and I know how good he is, we called him ‘Smiley’, he was my roommate always since we started playing together.
“He was in the Joost van der Westhuizen era, so Joost was always playing ahead of him most of the time. He was the kind of guy who always had time for a joke, a brilliant rugby player, a good team man – it would have been interesting to coach him. I don’t know if I would handle him so well. But yeah, that would have been a good one to coach.”
Swanepoel represented the Springboks in the 1999 Rugby World Cup, scoring a try in their pool match against Spain. Sadly Smiley’s career was ended unexpectedly when he contracted viral meningitis while he was playing with for Worcester Warriors in 2004.
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