Rassie confirms commitment to transformation targets

Photo: Rassie Erasmus is announced as Springbok coach during a South African rugby press conference at SuperSport Studios in Randburg

Springbok  coach  Rassie Erasmus  has expressed his commitment to transforming the national team ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

Government has instructed that the national squad must be made up of 50% players of colour for that tournament in Japan, and Erasmus has confirmed that he has a target of 45% for his first year in charge.

“I’m not going to talk around it all the time,” Erasmus said from Cape Town International Airport on Wednesday.

“I think the time has come where we must talk about it and talk factually about it.

“The target is 45% this year. It’s not 45% in every single game, it’s when the season is finished.

“If we don’t reach that at the end of the season then I didn’t pass one of my KPI’s. It’s as easy as that.”

The former Bok loose forward acknowledged that it would not always be easy to ensure representation, but he said he was thankful for the fact that the targets were now public knowledge and that everybody knew where they stood.

“I know you can have five injuries and now you must make a plan. Fortunately, now we know we have to make a plan,” he said.

“We must see it like that. It is what it is, and we must work around that.”

While franchise cricket in South Africa has ensured that at least six players of colour are selected in every starting XI at domestic level, there are no such rules in place for the country’s Super Rugby sides.

When asked if he was getting the necessary support from the franchises in terms of supplying a strong pool of black players, Erasmus was empathetic with the coaches.

“I was also a franchise coach and Fleckie (Robbie Fleck) must keep his job and Robert (Du Preez) must keep his job,” he said.

“If they help me and the Boks do well but they get fired nobody is going to thank them for helping the Boks.

“I’m not just talking about transformation, I’m talking about if you want to play a guy at flyhalf but they want to play him at inside centre and things like that.

“We will always leave it to them to make those decisions, but at the end of the day I think things are turning around.

“Yes, it would be great if they had better representation in their teams, but I also understand that they are also in trouble with injuries or a player in a lack of form.

“I won’t point fingers at them.”

Erasmus’s first match in charge of the Boks takes place on June 2 when they play Wales in Washington DC. DM



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