Former Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius believes director of rugby Rassie Erasmus’ role with the team is only beneficial and that he is not overpowering head coach Jacques Nienaber.
Pretorius, who played 31 Test matches for the Springboks and was part of the 2007 World Cup-winning squad, was speaking to Sport24 and moved to dispel some of the “myths” surrounding Erasmus during the interview.
Rugby pundits, former England coach Clive Woodward among them, have argued that Erasmus is overshadowing the Springbok coaching staff and that a lack of demarcation between Erasmus and Nienaber’s roles is hurting the team.
The Springboks go into Saturday’s 100th Test against the All Blacks on the back of two successive losses to the Wallabies in Brisbane and the Gold Coast. While Erasmus is not with the team in Australia, Nienaber did reveal that he is still involved in helping the team prepare for matches when he can.
“I think there are a lot of myths when it comes to Rassie’s role with the Springboks,” Pretorius told the website.
“There’s a perception that he’s overpowering, that he’s coaching the team through his proxies and that it’s preventing Jacques and co from stamping their own authority on the team.
“I’m no insider, but I’m very confident that’s not the case at all.”
The question then remains as to whether the Springboks are over-reliant on Erasmus’ knowledge.
“I believe Jacques is seasoned enough as a coach to be his own man,” Pretorius said.
“If anything, he’s merely using a great advantage that’s been handed to him – to have one of the best minds in the game as a sounding board. Why wouldn’t a coach take that opportunity? You’re always learning when you are involved in this great game.”
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile via Getty Images