Rassie Erasmus talks the excitement rugby return after serving a year-long ban from the sport 

Rassie Erasmus, The Mail On Sunday

Updated October 29, 2022 at 10:49 p.m., October 29, 2022 at 11:05 p.m.

  • It would be a great moment to come back to Ireland and restart my career
  • Time away from sports has given me a chance to reflect
  • The internationalization of sports has become incredibly competitive
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This time next week I will be back in the coaching box for the first time in a year. My 50th birthday is on the Saturday of my exam in Dublin, but that’s the last thing on my mind.

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The biggest thing for me was coming back to Ireland and being a coach for a relatively short time. A few of us will travel to Cork on Sunday to prepare for the South Africa A game against our old club Munster, a place that holds a special place in my heart.

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My ban gave me plenty of time to think. Words cannot express how much I missed being in the stadium with the guys. Nothing can replace that matchday feeling. A noise from the locker room before the boys finish. To look into their eyes and see the excitement…or sometimes the nerves.

Rassi Erasmus is awaiting a return to sport after a year in prison

Watching these big men from different cultures who care about each other and dedicate their lives to a common cause. This is magic. It was not a good feeling standing in the hotel lobby when the team boarded the bus without me. Rugby is my passion and it means a world for me to come back to.

I don’t think there’s any point in trying to convince people that I didn’t leak that tape, but I’ll always stand by the truth. Most importantly, I was banned and served time. I won’t stand on the line as a waterboy because it’s no longer within the laws of the game. However, I will be in the coaching box with the lads.

We’ve had some tough opposition this season and we know we’re going to have a massive tour. We start with challenges against the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the world, and it will be one of our toughest trips in years. These are the high-pressure games we will face in the World Cup, so this is the perfect preparation.

Having the Springbok and SA ‘A’ teams play in the same week, juggling player and team management and getting the sides to work optimally on and off the pitch is a challenge we want.

As Director of Rugby, my role is to oversee the national structure and organization and manage off-field matters so that the coaches can focus solely on coaching. I will deal with the front of the house and give my opinion.

South Africa last faced Ireland five years ago in an autumn international

We have 11 official languages ​​in South Africa, and English is not our first language for most of us, so our tone can seem aggressive and direct. This is not an attempt to challenge people, it is part of the nature of South Africa.

People may ask why Ireland means so much to me. Coaching Munster in 2016 and 2017 was a very important time in my life. I was there in Paris when Axel Foley died. How can I forget that day?

I didn’t know how to deal with this at the time, but the people of Ireland guided me and I will be forever grateful. The only way to say thank you is to see as many Irish friends as possible and enjoy the challenge between Munster and Ireland.

We haven’t played Ireland for five years. Rugby is like precision farming there. They have over 200 professional players, but they get the best out of them. They are ranked No. 1 in the world and this is our first Test match in a tough six-match series.

Italy’s win over Wales proved just how competitive international rugby has become

The international landscape has become incredibly competitive. It was relatively easy to pick your favorite player for the 2019 World Cup. Now it is very open. Based on a number of recent results, I believe there is no one favorite for this World Cup.

Australia were beaten after Wales were beaten by Italy and New Zealand by Argentina. Ireland beat France before beating New Zealand. And Eddie Jones proved everyone wrong by winning with England in Australia.

I think there are many more examples and that’s why I think it will be the most competitive World Cup.

As I conclude my final column before returning to the stadium, I would like to say: As long as you follow the rules and protocol, it doesn’t matter what your capacity is as a player, coach, referee or fan. No one is stopping you from sharing your thoughts about the game.


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