SA Rugby president Mark Alexander has assured Rassie Erasmus there will no external pressure or interference when he selects the Springbok squad for the World Cup.
Speaking at a SA Rugby affiliated event on Thursday, Alexander paid tribute to Erasmus, who he says has exceeded expectations when it comes to meeting transformation targets, according to Netwerk24.
‘Rassie knows what to do, it is not necessary for us to remind him of transformation,’ Alexander said.
‘He is mature enough to fulfil his mandates and so far he has exceeded our expectations. So no, there won’t be any pressure on him.’
In 2018, Erasmus came under fire from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), who accused him of selecting a team that is ‘too white’. But Alexander was adamant that the team and Erasmus have come a long way since then.
‘Our run-on XV will in most games have the desired number of black players. In fact, because our players come through naturally and based on merit, we are actually beyond that desired number.’
Alexander added that all targets were set in the hope that it be reached in 2023, but Erasmus – both in his capacity as coach and director of rugby – as met the targets already.
‘Our plan was for 2023, but at this stage, there are four black captains in our national teams. Rassie also started with Bok team that wasn’t really established, but he changed the culture of the team.
‘Players play for the people and you can clearly see that they play for him. Rassie brought us back and the team is performing again and the impact of that should not be underestimated.
‘Other national teams underperform at big tournaments and there’d be no pressure on them. A week after the Proteas came back from the cricket World Cup in England, all was forgiven. When we came back from the 2015 World Cup, a commission of inquiry was launched into the team’s performance. There is always more pressure on the rugby team. ‘
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