Sean Erasmus hopes to end a successful five-year stint as Paarl Boys’ High coach with a win against Paarl Gimnasium on Saturday, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
After joining Boishaai at the start of the 2014 season, Erasmus inspired the 1st XV to a 59-match winning streak against South African opposition. His team closed out the season as the No 1-ranked side for three years in a row, from 2014 to 2016, and he has a 75% win record in the Paarl derby (played four, won three, lost one).
Now, as Erasmus prepares to lead Boishaai into battle for one last time against fierce rivals Paarl Gim, before joining the Lions as one of their junior coaches in November, he admits his pending departure is weighing heavily on his heart.
‘This whole week, it’s been a case of trying to keep the emotions in check. It’s been five amazing years and a wonderful journey for us as a family,’ Erasmus told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘It’s not just the end of five years at Paarl Boys’, it’s the end of 23 years in schoolboy rugby. It’s been tough for me to know that this is something I won’t be able to enjoy again next year.’
As for the all-important fixture at Faure Street this weekend, Erasmus and his team find themselves in the unfamiliar position of being labelled underdogs. While Boishaai have lost four of their 13 games this season, Gimmies have won 15 out of 16.
‘We know the talk going around in town is that we are underdogs, and we’re quite happy to wear that tag. As a team, we feel we’ve let people down this season and we’d like to make up for that with a win in the derby,’ Erasmus explained. ‘We respect Paarl Gim and what they’ve achieved this year, but anything can happen.’
Erasmus was tight-lipped on his lineup for the derby and the tactics they’re likely to employ, but he did say his charges are fired up to finish the year with a flourish.
‘We focused on the basics this week. Rain is expected but the clouds are moving around a bit, so, for now, it appears the rain has moved on. We’ve prepared for dry and wet conditions. At the end of the day, it comes down to who executes the basics better.
‘All our players are good to go. There were a couple of injury concerns earlier in the week, but the boys have trained well through those niggles. Everybody’s looking OK and I’m quite happy about that.’
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images