The absence of Springbok Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus will be felt by the team when they take on England in their final end-of-year-tour game at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon.
Erasmus has started serving a two month suspension from all rugby activities and will not be available for match day activities until September 2022, with assistant coach Mzwandile Stick admitting his absence will fire up the Boks and give them extra motivation going into the England match.
“He’s a special guy in the team and we know how much he cares for everyone,” claimed Stick.
“He cares about Springbok rugby and all the families involved. We’ll miss him, but his spirit will be there. I think his absence will be motivation for us to play even better because we know what he’s done for us in the team.”
Bok captain Siya Kolisi was also quick to praise the massive influence of Erasmus and explained that it will be a difficult period for the team, which they will have to adapt to without the charismatic Director of Rugby who has always played a very hands on role with the team.
“It will be tough because his presence makes a huge difference to us as a group. He’s got excellent rugby insights and there are things he sees in the field that we don’t see,” explained Kolisi.
“It always helped quite a lot because he’s played rugby at this level and he knows how to motivate us on the field.”
The vision and communication of Erasmus on the sideline will also be sorely missed as he played an integral role in explaining the decisions of the coaching staff and keeping the players in the right frame of mind during games.
“When those subs are made and you’re taken off early, you start to question what you’ve done and he explains that. That makes a huge difference because he knows how we are as players and the massive competition we have in the squad,” said Kolisi.
“We always want to give our best and play for the full 80 minutes. I’ve been taken off before in games a few times and that’s been questioned in the public.
“He’ll tell me that they felt I was tired or they needed more at the breakdown. We’ll miss him, but we know the coaching staff has plans.”