Cape Town - Rassie Erasmus has revealed that he came close to resigning as Springbok coach last year.
After a 32-19 loss to Argentina in Mendoza and a 23-18 defeat by Australia in Brisbane, the Boks were under pressure heading into a Test against New Zealand in Wellington.
No-one gave the Boks a chance but they upset the odds to claim a famous 36-34 victory over the All Blacks.
Following Saturday's 32-12 Rugby World Cup final win over England in Yokohama, Erasmus told reporters that he would have quit if the Boks had lost that Test in Wellington.
"We had a lot of small targets where we tried to simulate matches, as there was only 18 Test matches before the World Cup. We put a lot of emphasis on winning against the All Blacks in Wellington last year as we knew that would be a way to get the confidence of both the players and the public up," Erasmus said, as quoted by SuperSport.com.
"I decided to treat the All Black game like it was a quarter-final and decided we should play that role. Then we lost to Australia and Argentina, and I decided that if we don't win I will resign as coach as I have never lost three games in a row as a coach at any level and thought that if I did not get it right then I did not deserve to be a Springbok coach."
Erasmus added that the win against New Zealand changed the whole mood in the Bok camp.
"It was very important for us not to lose there. Then we drew with them in the next game there a few months ago and that was also an important result for us in terms of building confidence and making people believe in us."
Erasmus said before the World Cup final that the match would be his last as national coach and he will now focus on his Director of Rugby role at SA Rugby.
"It is probably my last Test - it is my last Test match that I will be the head coach," he told media last Thursday after naming his side for the final.
The 47-year-old joined the Boks in 2018, signing a six-year deal as Director of Rugby.
The Boks were in dire straits when Erasmus started his new job and he immediately took on the position of head coach as well.
Erasmus will now appoint a new Springbok coach to report to him.
- Compiled by Herman Mostert