Rassie Erasmus is best known for his contributions in the rugby world, especially in South Africa. Born as Johan 'Rassie' Erasmus on 5 November 1972, the star is the South African rugby union director, the Springbok coach, and also a former famous international rugby player.
Rassie also served as the former Director of Rugby of Irish provincial side Munster, after previously serving as the General Manager: High Performance Teams for South African Rugby Union. Erasmus became the South African national team's head coach from 2018, where he doubled up as the first SARU Director of Rugby, an appointment that came towards the close of 2017.
Rassie Erasmus profile
Real name: Johan 'Rassie' Erasmus
Nickname: Rassie, Dj Rassie
Date of birth: 5 November 1972
Age: 46 years
Birthplace: Despatch, Eastern Cape
University: University of Free State
Profession: Rugby player and coach
Johan Erasmus biography
The life of Johan is an interesting one, especially considering his love and passion for the rugby game. From being an international player, he has risen to become a coach of the game. Read on to discover more about the seasoned rugby player and coach.
Johan early life and education
Rassie is 46 years old, having been born back in November of 1972. While not much about his formative years is known, the boy from Despatch stayed close to home in his early days. He attended the University of Free State which is in his province for the three years that he was in college and graduated in 1994.
Being from East Cape Town in Despatch, it is not surprising that he is into sports. After all, this is a town where some of the greatest sportsmen in South African history hail from.
Rassie's life in Rugby and coaching career
Before he even got into coaching, Rassie was a leader. He was the team's captain. This happened that one time that he was given the chance, between Corné Krige and Joost van der Westhuizen spells. The period allowed Rassie, for the first time in his career to wear the armband. Though he went ahead to lead the Springboks in 1999 against Australia, South Africa lost by 32-6 in Brisbane.
The news of him becoming the Springboks coach was a poorly kept secret as it was out in 2018 after he signed the 5-year deal. It included him maintaining his directorship position with SARU. The news was received well considering that the South African team was not doing so well, and Rassie was seen as the man that would revive it to the winning team everyone knew about from previous years.
The task of seeing Springboks rise to become world-beaters was an uphill one, but with Rassie winning the PRO12 tournament coach of the year with Munster, he was deemed the man fit enough for the job. His tenure is set to run up to the 2023 Rugby World Cup. He took over the national coaching duties from the outgoing coach Allister Coetzee who had been with the team for two years before his exit.
During his appointment, three assistant coaches that would work with him include Jacques Nienaber, Pieter de Villiers, and Mzwandile Stick were mentioned, with Aled Walters joining the management team as the head of the athletic performance. Bringing in other old workers for the team were Charles Wessels who would be the head of operations and Rene Naylor serving as the physiotherapist. The two come in with a wealth of experience seeing that they both were around for Springboks during the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup tournaments.
With so much reshuffling and re-strategizing when he took charge as the coach, the team has made tremendous improvements. Despite impressive performance with a couple of wins after years with gaps, the coach says that he will quit his coaching career once the 2019 World Cup is done and focus solely on being the game's director.
2018 was marked with a mixed performance that left fans confused with the mystery. At one time, the Boks would do well, and at the next game, they would flop and even go below-average performance by disturbing margins, only to rise and beat the best team in the world on their home ground. Whether you call it luck, strategy or skill, the mystery of 2018 was one that had a good number of people confused as it would be impossible to place the Springboks. Here is a summary of how the coach did then:
- Total Tests were 14
- Total wins were 7
- Win percentage was 50%
- Total tries were 37
- Average tries per game were 2.64
- Points conceded: 330
- Average points conceded per game was at 23.57
- Rugby Championship finish at 2nd
- End of year tour was 2/4
- Win percentage at home was at 66.6%
- Win percentage away at 37.5%
You may also want to note the following about his career as an international player:
- Total Springbok matches: 39 (36 Tests, three tour matches)
- Positions: Flank (34), No 8 (2)
- Last Test: 23 June 2001 vs France in Durban, aged 28
- Test debut: 5 July 1997 vs the British & Irish Lions in Johannesburg, aged 24
- Win ratio: 27-9-0
Latest news on SA rugby coach
Rassie is no stranger to headlines and the news. However, he is recently being mentioned for his strategic plan. He said that the aim is to win the championship and as such, a specific plan that would include mixing things up and giving game time to as many players as possible was necessary. The team that he named excluded several front-line players that would be expected as they would be leaving for Newzealand for the Test against the All Blacks in Wellington. With Eben Etzebeth as the team's captain for the Boks, three players would be making their Test debuts. In his statements, the coach said,
"The squad have trained together for more than three weeks and this match is important for us to start a very important rugby year.
We want to win the Rugby Championship and we have a specific plan, which starts Saturday with the first Test against the Wallabies.
We have planned to mix things up in the first two Tests of the season, in order to give game time to as many of the players in our wider squad, and we believe this is the right combination to face a very good and competitive Australian side.
We are excited for the forthcoming year and I want to congratulate Rynhardt, Herschel and Lizo on their first inclusion in a Springbok match-day squad, while the leadership role is not something new for Eben. The build-up has been good and there is definitely a very good vibe for match.
Australia have prepared very well for this match and they have spent two weeks at altitude to acclimatise to the Highveld, so we are in for a great contest."
With these statements, it is clear that the coach is not joking around but working his way to ensure South Africa has all the advantages to grab the win. The named team is as follows:
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 S'bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Dillyn Leyds
It is obvious that Rassie Erasmus has rugby at heart. His coaching speaks for itself and with a lot of improvements within the team, we can only wish him and the Boks all the best.