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Rassie Erasmus’ tell-all interview left us with more questions than answers

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus recently did a tell- all interview. Photo: Mark Lewis/Huw Evans/Shutterstock/BackpagePix

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus recently did a tell- all interview. Photo: Mark Lewis/Huw Evans/Shutterstock/BackpagePix

Published Mar 9, 2022

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Cape Town - The pinned tweet on Rassie Erasmus’ Twitter account is about him refuting rumours that he would become the England coach following the 2019 Rugby World Cup final success.

“Not Sure I would know what to say to any other team before a W Cup Final. Not Happening !!!” posted Erasmus with a video of his inspirational speech to the Springbok team ahead of the clash against the English in Yokohama, where he spoke about the players giving South Africa “hope” through their performance.

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But have things changed since? Well, the way the former loose forward spoke in an interview with the Daily Mail over the past few days, that may be the case.

The first part of the interview dealt more with the infamous referee video from last year’s British & Irish Lions series, where he was at pains to point out that he did not leak the 62-minute video in which various mistakes made by Australian official Nic Berry were highlighted.

ALSO READ: ’Who leaks something like that?’ - Rassie Erasmus denies making infamous Lions tour video public

Erasmus stated that “I want people to know that I’m not this monster that I’ve been portrayed as”, detailing how the fall-out from the video had affected his family, and that he was in tears before the second Test out of fear for the reaction from Bok fans if the team had to lose the series after just two matches.

He also felt that his reputation globally had been destroyed: “I hate the fact that overseas people hate me. I’m actually quite a sensitive guy. People think I’m a bully. I’m not. Ask anybody that knows me. I liked it when I was known as the happy guy that people saw at the World Cup. I wish I could be known as that guy again.”

While a little over the top in terms of the backlash about the video, it was understandable that Erasmus wanted to give his side of the story … But the second part of the interview left more questions than answers, to be honest.

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The 49-year-old spoke about coaching England in the future – and did not rule it out. Considering the pinned tweet mentioned earlier, it was quite an about-turn.

“I don’t think the English people would ever want me there now. Maybe I am wrong. I hope I am wrong. Would I coach another country? If my own people were cool with it, and the other country’s people were cool with it, then why not?” Erasmus said.

ALSO READ: Rassie Erasmus almost resigned, ’lost friends’ after appointing Siya Kolisi as Springbok captain

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“But if my own people are going to hate me for it, then I would never do it. I hate the fact that so many people hate me in rugby right now. I’m not a confrontational guy … I like to get on with people.

“South Africa has my heart, but coaching England would be amazing, because I think they can win. I would love to coach Ellis Genge.

“Any prop that looks the other prop in the eyes before a scrum, you know he’s a dog. You don’t want a prop that’s looking at his toes, scared. I want guys like Genge on my team.

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“If South Africans accepted me doing that, like when Nick Mallett went to coach Italy, then of course I would love it. If I felt like South Africans were not going to hate me on the street, then I would consider it.”

How would the likes of Bok frontrowers Ox Nche and Steven Kitshoff feel about SA’s director of rugby speaking so glowingly about England’s loosehead prop?

Of course, Erasmus added the rider of not wanting Bok fans to “hate me on the street”, but he certainly left the door wide open to take over from Eddie Jones after the 2023 Rugby World Cup…

@AshfakMohamed

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