Springboks Rassie Erasmus World Cup Springbok coach SA Rugby All Blacks

Rassie Erasmus during a Springbok training session. Image: AFP

Rassie reveals tough ‘age’ conversation with some RWC stars

Rassie Erasmus has acknowledged there will need to be some tough conversations with key Springboks who are on the ‘wrong side’ of 30.

Springboks Rassie Erasmus World Cup Springbok coach SA Rugby All Blacks

Rassie Erasmus during a Springbok training session. Image: AFP

Back as Springbok coach, Rassie Erasmus is quickly intensifying plans for the 2024 Test season, but as a long-term strategist, there is also a clear four-year plan he will be plotting from now until the 2027 World Cup.

Of course, several Springboks will be hoping to be part of what could be a historic hat-trick of successive World Cup titles in 2027.

Theoretically, numerous 2023 World Cup winners could still be part of the picture in four years’ time, but some may be past their prime at that stage.

It will lead to some tough conversations down the line, and Rassie has already revealed that there can be no place for sentimentality.

“In 2018 we did a roadmap on the players to look at where they would be in 2019, 2023 and 2027,” Erasmus said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“We know exactly which players we think can last another year and we have given them specific tasks to help the youngsters before they leave here and maybe reach their 100th Test match or a milestone.

“Against Ireland we will still probably use some of those older guys who know them well. The challenge is really to tell the player he must stop now. That’s a tough one, because there are some guys in their 30s who see themselves winning another World Cup.

“I don’t foresee our age going much over an average of 29 or 30.”

So what will Rassie Erasmus have to consider before the Springboks’ next World Cup challenge?

While several players will be well into their thirties by then, the truth is that many could still be available in four year’s time.

Ages at 2027 RWC of current Springbok backs: 9: Faf de Klerk 35 / Jaden Hendrikse 27 / Grant Williams 31; 10: Handre Pollard 33 / Manie Libbok 30; 11: Cheslin Kolbe 33, 12: Damian de Allende 34 / Andre Esterhuizen 33; 13: Jessse Kriel 33 / Lukhanyo Am 33, Canan Moodie 23; 14: Kurt-Lee Arendse 31; 15: Damian Willemse 29

Out of the running for next RWC in all likelihood: Makazole Mapimpi 37, Cobus Reinach 37, Willie le Roux 38

Current Bok forwards: 1: Steven Kitshoff 35 / Ox Nche 32; 2: Bongi Mbonambi 36 / Malcolm Marx 33, 3: Frans Malherbe 36 / Vincent Koch 37, 4: Eben Etzebeth 35 / RG Snyman 32, 5: Franco Mostert 35 / Jean Kleyn 34 / Marvin Orie 34, 6: Siya Kolisi 36 / Marco van Staden 32, 7: Pieter-Steph du Toit 35 / 8: Jasper Wiese 31 / Kwagga Smith 34

Out of the running for next RWC: Trevor Nyakane 38, Deon Fourie 41, Duane Vermeulen 41.