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Erasmus will not be judged on the Boks' results at the World Cup‚ says SA Rugby boss

21 August 2019 - 17:47 By Khanyiso Tshwaku
SA Rugby president Mark Alexander.
SA Rugby president Mark Alexander.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander has revealed that Springbok coach Johan “Rassie” Erasmus will not be judged on the results of next month's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Erasmus will announce his World Cup squad on August 26 and with the Springboks unbeaten this year‚ expectation have increased on the team.

“Rassie has a mandate and he understands what he has to achieve for the Rugby World Cup. We're going to compete‚ not just to participate at the Rugby World Cup.

"That's the difference and he's not going to be judged on the result‚” Alexander said.

“When Rassie took over the job 16 months ago‚ one of the things he had to do was to build a team for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

"When you look at the team now‚ we are ready to compete at this World Cup and not the 2023 one.

"We've got the players who are a nice blend of youth and experience.

"They have the ability to go and win the World Cup. We're happy with where we are and we're in a good place.”

The Springboks recently won the Rugby Championship for the first time in 10 years.

But the team that wins the Rugby Championship in a World Cup year has traditionally not gone on to win the Webb Ellis Cup later in the year.

Transformation‚ a prickly but necessary issue in between World Cup years‚ comes to the fore when the Springboks have to go to the showpiece tournament.

In previous tournaments‚ the racial make-up of the squad and the respective match-day 23's have raised considerable ire.

Alexander‚ though‚ said Erasmus won't be under any transformation pressure in terms of the make-up of the squad.

The squad will be captained by Siya Kolisi‚ who proved his fitness in last week's 24-18 win against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld.

After the Test‚ the Bok squad went to Bloemfontein‚ from where they'll re-assemble in Johannesburg on Sunday ahead of the squad announcement the following day.

SA's first World Cup game will be against New Zealand in Yokohama on September 21.

“There's no transformation pressure on Rassie.

"The target is 50 percent of your 23-man run-on team and at most time‚ we'll meet that target.

"If we didn't lose some players to injury‚ we would've exceeded the target several times this year.

"You also need to understand how the Eminent Persons Group scorecard works‚” Alexander said.

“You need to get a percentage of your target to pass.

"I believe we will pass and we don't have to tell Rassie because he's mature enough to understand his mandate.

"He's also performed well thus far.”

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