Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


'He has unified South Africa off the field' | Matt Williams on Rassie Erasmus

Rassie Erasmus has done an unbelievable job with the Springboks both on and off the pitch, former...

Rassie Erasmus has done an unbelievable job with the Springboks both on and off the pitch, former rugby coach Matt Williams said on Off The Ball.

South Africa have made a remarkable recovery in the two years since Erasmus has taken over, going from a record low of seventh in the world rankings to becoming World Cup champions.

While the improvement on the pitch has been obvious, the former Leinster and Ulster coach paid tribute to the success the South African coach has achieved off of it.

“South Africa is such a complex beast… What Rassie’s done - not just technically and tactically on the field - he’s united that team off the field.

“The selection of [Siya] Kolisi as captain is hugely symbolic. To have a black captain of the Springboks, it’s an amazing choice by Rassie and obviously that has united the team,” Williams said.

The head coach of the Springboks has more than just rugby to worry about, with interference from the country’s ruling party the African National Congress (ANC) commonplace.

The Australian was particularly impressed by how the former Munster coach was able to successfully manage the team in such unusual conditions.

“If you’re the South Africa coach you have to tread the line of politics. There’s usually an ANC appointee on the staff.

“I know for a fact from coaches in the past that have told me if you make a change and a black player comes off and you don’t put a black player on you are asked the reason why.

“So Rassie has done more than just unified that side. He has walked the line of the politics that has to come with every national team of South Africa, be it cricket or rugby, that were the symbols of the old regime.

“He’s unified that and that is not easy to do,” Williams commented.

Erasmus will now take over as the Director of Rugby of the Springboks but will hope to implement further progress in the team from his new position.

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Matt Williams Rassie Erasmus Rugby South Africa