Rassie Erasmus is the new coach of the South African Rugby Team and has something other coaches in South Africa haven't had for a long time,freedom. A freedom to do his job without any outside interference. The other coaches over the last 10 years have all been puppets being dictated to by the government and South African Rugby Board.
Erasmus is different though as he is a well respected coach and wouldn't accept the role if it meant being dictated to. One of his predecessors was a certain Pieter De Villiers who was known as the clown. Reporters used to dare not miss his press conferences because he would always say or do something wrong. Nothing ever made sense and he would get wrapped up into all sorts of problems by just trying to be clever. Everything he did he was told what to do and how to do it and his coaching knowledge was less than limited. I wouldn't use him for a school team as what he knew was dangerous. It has later come out that he has been turned down for other coaching positions as he doesn't have the level 3 certificate required. How did he become a National team coach if it wasn't manipulated?
Disco lights and colored cards in the first season with the Cheetahs up on the stadium roof.
Erasmus burst onto the scene almost immediately after his playing days and just did things differently. Other coaches used to sit in the stands with a two way radio looking ultra important and not doing much to change the game. Erasmus used to sit on the roof of the stadium getting a birds eye view looking for weaknesses. he had a light system implemented at his home ground and lights used to flicker sending signals down to the coaches down below.
No one had seen anything like it before and he had instant success winning the Currie Cup and most likely psyched out any visiting team thinking he had a bag of tricks. He does things differently and it showed with who he hired around him to implement his plans.
Jacques Nienaber is a physiotherapist by trade, but also a defensive coach so this allows him to run onto the field to treat players and instruct them on what needs to happen. Other coaches have to stay off the field during play and the only chance they can talk to the team is at half time. Erasmus has contact with his team for the full 80 minutes using Jacques as his voice.
It is no surprise to see Jacques running onto the field today in the game against Japan as he is now Rassies's right hand man having followed him to every coaching position since 2005. They know each other inside out and are both highly respected. This is a unique position that no other teams have and communication is the most important thing players respond to during a game.
Recently his attacking coach resigned and he never replaced him as he is hands on and can do it himself. The SA Rugby Board gave him a back line coach who has little experience and is a leftover from De Villiers reign. He is there to learn as his knowledge is very limited. having one years experience at a semi top level before getting the National position tells us everything. He may help with training ,but tactical knowledge will not be forthcoming.
Jacques Nienaber mentioned recently that the players are improving after every game as even the defensive structure was missing before they took over.The basics were lacking and these are professional players. This was obvious over the last few years as scoring against them was easier than it should have been. Players were set up incorrectly and were not marking in the defensive pattern that players are bought up on. Any rugby player would have known that and that is why everyone called the entire set up a joke.
I am hoping that Erasmus will be left alone by the powers that be and he can resurrect the sport from the doldrums. I don't trust them though and know they will wreck it as they can't help themselves and love meddling.