DURBAN – As inevitable as it was, Allister Coetzee’s firing now means that eyes will immediately turn to the man in charge, Rassie Erasmus.
The former Springbok loose forward has returned to be the director of rugby at SA Rugby, and while nothing has been made official about his coaching capacity, he will no doubt have a big role to play going forward.
Erasmus was heralded and praised when he made his decision to return to South Africa after a relatively successful stint in Ireland with Munster.
His time with the Irish province saw him shoot to prominence, with the untimely death of Anthony Foley putting him more into a leading role.
He managed to get Munster to the top of the PRO12 table last season, although the Irish side fell woefully short in the final to the Welsh outfit Scarlets.
In the European Champions Cup, Munster finished second after the pool stages behind French side Clermont, but they were then knocked out in the semi-finals by eventual champions Saracens.
In his time at the coaching helm in South Africa, his best result was a Currie Cup win with the Cheetahs in 2005, but other than that, he has not picked up too many other major accolades.
Despite this, Erasmus’ reputation has grown since his coaching debut and he has become well regarded as a tactically astute rugby man.
The Springboks are in dire need of direction, and the mere fact that he has been made the overall director could be well suited to his skill-set.
The coaching make-up is yet to be finalised, but will be come the end of February.
And, regardless of who is picked to be the head coach, there is no doubt that the director will have a major role to play in the path the Springboks head on.