Johannesburg - New
Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus acknowledged on Thursday
that he faces a "huge task" reviving fallen giants South Africa.
WATCH: Timeline of Allister Coetzee's two years in charge of the Boks
The twice world champions are ranked only sixth in the world after
winning just 11 of 25 Tests in the past two seasons, during which they
twice conceded 57 points to New Zealand.
Those humiliating losses cost Allister Coetzee his job halfway
through a four-year contract, opening the way for former Springboks
loose forward Erasmus to take over.
"It is a huge task to coach the Springboks and I am very privileged," Erasmus said in a SA Rugby statement.
"I really believe we have the players and the rugby intellectual
property to turn things around and mount a serious challenge at the 2019
Rugby World Cup.
"We have 18 Tests and just under 600 days until Japan 2019 and a lot
of planning has already gone into our Rugby World Cup preparations.
"It is very important that we prepare thoroughly for the matches against Wales and England in June."
The Springboks season begins on June 2 with a one-off Test against Wales in Washington.
Erasmus has chosen Jacques Nienaber (defence), Pieter de Villiers (scrums) and Mzwandile Stick (backs) as his assistants.
De Villiers is a South Africa-born former France prop who worked with the Springboks previously.
Former national sevens team star Stick assisted Coetzee for one season before being ditched.
Ex-All Blacks coach John Mitchell, who is in charge of Pretoria-based
Super Rugby side Bulls, hailed the appointment of Erasmus in
an interview with New Zealand Radio Sport.
"Rassie has always been an impressive student of the game and he has always been innovative as well.
"I think having taken time out has rejuvenated his thinking about the game and clearly he has hit the sweet spot as a coach.
"Sometimes it is good to get out of the game and find a new way to do things - he certainly did that at Munster.
"He is not going to do it on his own. The critical thing is who he
surrounds himself with... that is the key to his appointment."
Mitchell coached New Zealand for two years before being sacked after
they lost to hosts Australia in the 2003 Rugby World Cup semi-finals.