Rassie Erasmus. Photo: Archives
RFU chief Bill Sweeney has suggested that Rassie Erasmus would not replace England’s Eddie Jones ahead of a local coach.
Rassie Erasmus. Photo: Archives
Springbok boss Rassie Erasmus increasingly has seemed to be increasingly considering the possibility of joining England after the 2023 World Cup, which is when the contract of Eddie Jones comes to an end.
After famously leading the Springboks to the 2019 Rugby World Cup title, Erasmus has moved into a new role as director of rugby, and oversaw the famous 2-1 series win against the British & Irish Lions last year.
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After all the success Erasmus has enjoyed, it’s no surprise that he has been linked with top jobs around the world, and few will forget that even in early 2020 he was reported to have held talks with the English RFU to discuss the possibility of replacing Eddie Jones as England head coach
At that time, according to Sunday newspaper Rapport, the report cited two impeccable sources who claimed that while Erasmus still has a long-term contract with SA Rugby, there was a clause that could have allowed him to walk away earlier if he came to an agreement with the RFU.
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In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, Erasmus recently spoke about the possibility of perhaps one day coaching England, and didn’t rule out that prospect.
However, Sweeney is said to be focused on rewarding homegrown coaches in the search for Jones’ successor.
“The preference would be to have an English set-up,” Sweeney said. “We believe we’ve got such a wealth of English coaches in the game.
“As a leading rugby nation we should be developing English coaches and an English style of play.”
Conor O’Shea, the RFU director of performance rugby, echoed these sentiments.
“The plan will be to appoint that coach before summer 2023,” O’Shea said. “Whether that’s embedding them into the programme or taking a helicopter view, that’s a discussion to be had.
“We have so many top English coaches who are in a great position. Eddie has worked with Steve, Neal [Hatley], Gussy [Paul Gustard]. You look across the Premiership and then you see the quality of people overseas. I want them to be English and I believe it should be.”
The comments from England come at a time when many felt Erasmus had sent out a message effectively saying “come and get me” to the RFU.
“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?
“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.
“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.
“A couple of years ago, people would have said, ‘Go over there now, make a few pounds and be successful’. Things changed last year. Life is a bit different now.”
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In the latest information on this story, Sunday’s Rapport has quoted SA Rugby president Mark Alexander, who has given assurance that Erasmus will not go anywhere between now and the 2023 World Cup.
“He has a contract with us until after the 2023 World Cup. He is an honourable man and will respect that!”
However, Rassie could look for a new challenge after that, with Eddie Jones expected to vacate his top job with England.
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