SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has opened up about his decision to embrace social media and use it as a tool to gather support for the Springboks.
Erasmus – who coached the Springboks to glory in the 2019 World Cup – had been something of a traditionalist when it came to the use of social media.
However, following the 2019 World Cup he surprisingly opted to start his own Twitter account and share videos from the Boks’ preparations for the global tournament. The videos – which featured a unique behind-the-scenes look at the Boks – went viral.
Speaking on the SA Rugby podcast, he admitted that he has never been a fan of the medium, but his experience of seeing the social media support for the Boks changed his mind.
‘I was one of the guys who was never into those things. We have a family Facebook page but that is the closest I got to social media,’ Erasmus said. ‘Obviously with twin daughters, who are 16 years old, they are very into the Instagram and the latest things that are available.
‘I realised at the World Cup that we as coaches sit and talk to players, let’s say we start 6am in the morning and finish at 5pm. In between there is lunch and physios and treatment. So the amount of time that we are exposed to players is actually very limited to what they are exposed to social media.
‘It was actually a medium that irritated me a lot, until I saw the light and understood it and understood the place for it. I just decided to stop fighting against it and rather work with it.
‘I saw during the World Cup how fans, supporters and the media – when we started the hashtag StrongerTogether – if you put it out there and hide nothing, you get tremendous support. So the first thing was to give the supporters and media a little bit of insight into how we did things at the World Cup.
‘Also, to help them understand that rugby is a team sport and isn’t always about the best player. That might work in golf or sport that you can play on your own, but there are a lot of things outside a guy being a brilliant player. That was one of the big things why we won the World Cup. There weren’t any players with an ego or entitlement. It was nice to see the supporters’ reaction to that and I know the media listens to that or sees that.
‘Obviously, the new players who want to come into the mix might also see that. So, overall it is just a nice way of giving people more insight into how we operate and do things.’
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