Cape Town – The Springboks would’ve fondly remembered the two-year anniversary of their Rugby World Cup triumph on Tuesday, and there was cause for more celebration on Friday as Rassie Erasmus celebrated his 49th birthday in Cardiff.
Erasmus, the SA Rugby director of rugby, was then treated to an impromptu Xhosa rendition of the ‘Happy Birthday’ song by Bok captain Siya Kolisi and assistant coach Mzwandile Stick during a press conference on Friday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s Test against Wales at the Principality Stadium (7.30pm SA time kickoff).
Kolisi expressed his delight in having the former loose forward back on tour with the squad, after he missed out on the Rugby Championship trip to Australia.
“It’s been a great week, with a hard focus on Wales. Our director has been good for us. He’s presence has always been amazing, and he brings his knowledge and wisdom... it has always been great for us,” Kolisi said.
“And also just having him there… He is always watching the small stuff, how the mood is, how the players are feeling. He knows when we are down, and he can talk to us. It’s always good to have him around, so it’s really been great, and we are looking forward to playing this weekend.
“His main focus has been to make sure that we are ready and we know exactly what’s coming from every single angle.”
Bok coach Jacques Nienaber said this week that Erasmus will not fulfil the ‘waterboy’ role from the British and Irish Lions series earlier this year, but will be alongside him in the coaches’ box.
Erasmus is still awaiting the outcome of the World Rugby misconduct hearing that was completed last weekend, following the video he created about the mistakes made by Australian referee Nic Berry in the first Lions Test.
So, the Boks can give Erasmus the ideal birthday present by beating Wales in Cardiff for the first time since 2013.