Rassie Erasmus should not coach the Bulls in next year’s Super Rugby tournament, writes SIMON BORCHARDT.
The Bulls are looking for a new head coach after John Mitchell accepted an offer from England to become their new defence coach. Jimmy Stonehouse, who recently became head coach of the Pumas again after a stint in Japan, is a leading contender, while Victor Matfield, who has had assistant coaching roles with the Bulls and Lions, is also interested in the job.
However, the Bulls now have another option to consider. Erasmus, who is already performing two roles, as SA Rugby director of rugby and Bok coach, has offered to coach the Bulls in 2019. He wants to stay involved during Super Rugby and this would allow him to work with several of his key Boks at franchise level, including Warrick Gelant, Jesse Kriel, Handré Pollard, Embrose Papier, Marco van Staden and Lood de Jager. Duane Vermeulen, who is currently with the Kubota Spears in Japan, is also set to play in Pretoria next year and could be joined by Schalk Brits.
There’s no doubt that those Boks, and other players in the Bulls squad, would benefit from being coached by Erasmus at Super Rugby level. But while the Bulls as a franchise might also benefit from his involvement in the short term, they would have to start all over again in 2020 under a new head coach. Surely it would make more sense for them to get that person involved now, whether it’s Stonehouse, Matfield or someone else?
If Erasmus, as Bok coach, does have some spare time during Super Rugby next year, he should use it to perform his duties as SA Rugby director of rugby. That, too, is supposed to be a full-time job, requiring him to oversee South African rugby’s eight national teams (including the woefully underperforming women’s teams), participation and management of 20 competitions as well as the development of players, coaches and referees. How much progress has he made in those areas this year?
There has been talk that Erasmus may appoint a new Bok head coach after the 2019 World Cup, so he doesn’t have to wear more than one hat. For him to wear three during the first half of a World Cup year is simply unrealistic and should be dismissed out of hand by both the Bulls and SA Rugby.
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