Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus admitted that without SA Rugby’s overseas-based player policy, the Springboks would not have won the Rugby World Cup last year.
Erasmus masterminded the Springboks’ 32-12 Rugby World Cup final win over England in Yokohama last year.
The 47-year-old has since taken a back seat from coaching duties with Jacques Nienaber named as the new Springbok head coach.
In his current role, Erasmus still oversees the Springbok management team, which also comprises Deon Davids (forwards coach ) and Daan Human (scrum coach), Mzwandile Stick (backline coach) and Felix Jones (European-based attack consultant).
In the first episode of SA Rugby’s podcast, Erasmus sat down and discussed the impact of enforcing World Rugby’s regulation nine.
The policy, established in 2017, saw only overseas-based Springboks with more than 30 Test caps eligible for selection.
“I’ve got no doubt if we didn’t take the 30 Test cap away last year, we wouldn’t have won the World Cup,” admitted Erasmus on SA Rugby’s podcast.
“I’ve got no doubt that we also couldn’t keep the players in South Africa because we just do not have money to keep them here.
“It’s just reality and the moment you accept that reality and you’re wondering how are we going to work this, you find creative ways around that,” he said.
“We sent out a letter to all of the clubs around the world last year, saying we’re going to force regulation nine that the players are available for us. The problem with that was always when we get a player who was injured, unfit or didn’t know the game plan.”
Prior to the World Cup in Japan, Erasmus appointed Irishman Jones as the team’s consultant.
Erasmus revealed that Jones played a vital role for the Springboks as he visited several overseas-based Springboks and hosted alignment camps with them.
“We have alignment camps, which we obviously do virtually now, daily with six or seven players with the coaches like Jacques. Before that we had alignment camps physically with the Lions and Bulls but Felix actually went to all the overseas players, who was in the reckoning and had alignment camps with them,” said Erasmus.
“We wanted to eliminate the surprises when those guys fall back to us and that’s a big role Felix plays for us.”
– Compiled by Lynn Butler