Johannesburg - Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus is confident he will be able to hit the transformation targets set by his bosses by the time the Rugby World Cup comes along.
Erasmus was appointed last week on a six-year contract, but will need to try and achieve SA Rugby’s targets of a 50% representative basis for players of colour by the Rugby World Cup.
Yet, Erasmus doesn’t seem fazed by the challenge and believes he knows the landscape he is working in, the fights that have been fought over the issue and will be able to achieve where so many of his predecessors have failed.
“When you get into the SA Rugby set-up we have a very unique system in terms of 14 unions, our council. It is a different setup to Wales, Scotland. Anybody from the outside it takes you three four months to get used to that," he told the supersport.com website.
“I think the benefit for me to have been part of the system since 1994, when the game went professional, I understand transformation, I understand the battles that have been fought and the targets. I signed my contract according to that.
“It is not something I come in and say this is how it works. I am up for that, I will look to see how far we can hit those targets.”
Erasmus added that he believes South Africa have the players, the skills and the game plan to be able to be a real threat in the 2019 Rugby World Cup and all the country needs now is a little bit of hope.
“I don’t think we should say we are struggling and we don’t have the players. I don’t think we must say we don’t have enough time. I think we need to use these talents to our disposal with an aligned mindset with the provinces, and hands-on coaching with the players.
“And we need to beat a big team like England in a series again, and then people will get hope again. We will go up in the world rankings and players won’t head overseas. At the end of the day everyone knows that it may be a six-year contract but everyone knows if you don’t win it won’t be six years, you will be out. Results are what matters.”
Erasmus has determined short and long-term goals for the side under his tutelage, and believes the franchises will play a massive part in making the Boks a real threat in 2019.
“We’ve shared a lot with the franchises and we’ve bounced a lot of stuff off them. Because we are getting so much access currently on the field it seems those camps are almost the icing on the cake because it won’t be that we will see them for the first time at the camps. We are seeing those things currently.
“There will be camps but it will be more that we see them and align them. We get the teams in their bye weeks. Probably somewhere in May, after we’ve chatted to the provinces we will have a camp.
“I think we are in with a big chance, because I’ve been overseas and I’ve seen how good our players are. I just say we need to align quickly and use the IP (intellectual property) well and we will be in with a big chance.”
He outlined his goals, both short and long term.
“Short term goals, we are playing Wales and England. Let’s get past that hurdle and get the morale up and get a winning feeling again and get some positivity around the Springbok team. That will be short term goal.
“Long term is to be consistently ranked in the top two in the world and to be No 1 as long as we can,” he added.
Erasmus’s first match in charge will be the one-off Test in Washington against Wales on June 2.
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