I must say the faith shown in Springbok coach/Director of Springbok Rugby and Pro14 board member Rassie Erasmus is a bit crazy.

Yes, our man Rassie has added another title to his name over the weekend - that of Pro14 board member.

Now look, a lot of coaches have come before him in the Green and Gold. Some great names.

Kitch Christie, Nick Mallett, Peter de Villiers, Jake White. You take your pick. And all of them would have told you that coaching the Boks is no easy task.

In fact, they’d probably be in agreement that it’s one of the toughest jobs in world sport.

And this is why the appointment of Swys de Bruin that preceded the announcement of Rassie’s latest job is so interesting to me.


I think it’s a dead giveaway.

Swys has been called up on a consultancy basis and will tour with the squad to the US where they will play against Wales and also help out during the England series in June.

Why Swys? Why not Robbie Fleck, who has been a head coach at Super Rugby level for longer? Or why not Bulls coach John Mitchell?

The way I see it is that the bulk of the Springboks will come from the Lions this year.

They’ve been the top South African team for two years now and have a good team culture - something they haven’t lost since De Bruin took over from Johan Ackermann at the end of last season.

This year, they also have a huge gap on the other teams in South Africa on the log, meaning they haven’t lost their rhythm.

In order words, De Bruin built on the platform that was left by Ackermann and his players believe in him.

And here is why I believe he will have a lot of responsibility, perhaps the type that borders on the role of a head coach.

IN LINE FOR CAPTAIN: Lions Warren Whiteley

This opens up Rassie to chill a bit in that capacity.

Here he has a man that can execute what is planned, just like he does at the Lions at the moment.

From where I sit, a Director of Coaching has to give the head coach the masterplan.

He doesn’t necessarily take the credit or the heat for it, but in this case the South African Rugby Union (Saru) was hurried to appoint their man and had to announce Rassie as Allister Coetzee’s successor.

So while I think it’s a wonderful initiative by Saru, De Bruin might not get the necessary credit for his involvement this year.

When it comes to player personnel, I reckon the Bok skipper will come out of the Lions camp; most likely Warren Whiteley.

That leaves an open channel for Erasmus to get his message onto the park via De Bruin.

With his leader picked, it will be interesting to see when Nic Groom will make his debut for the Lions at scrumhalf.

TIMELY RETURN: Scrumhalf Nic Groom is in line. Photo: PA ARCHIVE/PA IMAGES, PAUL HARDING

Having watched Rassie’s previous team Munster play the Cheetahs on Friday, it was evident how heavily they relied on the left boot of scrumhalf James Hart.

Groom is a left-footed kicker, so you do the math - it’s not a tough one.

Team selections aside, I think Rassie is a careful planner and while he has taken on a new job, he’s already put the plans in place to do less of his old one while the job still gets done.

And for now, while the Springboks haven’t had a chance to show what they can do on the pitch yet, I can still see why he is gunning for the title of Mr Rugby.

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