Rassie Erasmus’ behaviour has brought the game into disrepute, but to remove him now would torpedo South Africa’s bid to defend their world title in 2023, according to MARK KEOHANE.
SA’s director of rugby, Erasmus is serving a two-game matchday ban handed out by World Rugby following his criticism of refereeing decisions during the ongoing November tour on social media.
He has been widely lambasted for his rants, notably by former Bok players and coaches, while SA Rugby bosses are reportedly irate with the 50-year-old whose conduct may yet result in more serious sanctions from World Rugby.
In his TIMESLive column, Keohane argues that Erasmus’ conduct and unrepentant response to criticism warrants a dismissal, but he suggests sacking him less than a year out from France 2023 would only encourage Bok coach Jacques Nienaber to quit, and completely disrupt the squad.
“Nienaber, who has for two decades been the second in charge to all of Erasmus’s teams, with a primary focus on defence, is the current Springboks coach. Erasmus, who coached the 2019 World Cup-winning Boks, appointed Nienaber,” Keohane wrote.
“It was an obvious choice for Erasmus, who retained control of the team, from strategy to squad selection, but relinquished having to front the media on a consistent basis.
“If SA Rugby dismissed Erasmus, Nienaber would align with his mate and go as well. It may also cause some very influential players to side with Erasmus.
“It is not a situation anyone within South African rugby needs, not with the World Cup technically a few months away. Erasmus, in his capacity as national director of rugby, should be banned internally from any form of social media interaction relating to the Springboks.
“Nienaber should be allowed to get on with the job of preparing the Boks for France 2023 and Erasmus’s main focus must be to support his mate and supposed head coach.”
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) November 24, 2022
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