Rassie Erasmus On The Aviva Stadium Moment That Made Him Leave Munster & Coach The Springboks
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“That was the day I decided.”
His tenure might have been short but there will always be a special place for Rassie Erasmus in Munster Rugby.
The 47-year-old landed in Limerick back in 2016 to a province in absolute turmoil with a dwindling fan base and a squad of players that has almost forgotten how to win.
He had to suffer the death of his former head coach Anthony Foley just a few short months into the role but he handled that incredibly and guided the southern province to a European semi-final and a domestic final.
But he was always destined to return to South Africa and coach his beloved Springboks and now he has revealed the moment when realised he simply had to leave Ireland and return home to coach his national side.
In the first episode of the Chasing the Sun documentary which aired in South Africa over the weekend, Erasmus said witnessing Ireland’s demolition of the Boks back in 2017 at the Aviva Stadium hit him hard.
“I was in the stands at the Aviva Stadium with [Jacques] Nienaber and as a fan for the first time in years when we lost 38-3 to Ireland,” Erasmus said.
“That was the day I decided.
“I was coaching in Ireland and felt we couldn’t be losing to a nation with so many few players than we had as a nation.”
Prop Steven Kitshoff spoke to Supersport’s Motshidisi Mohono this week following the first episode of the documentary and said the Boks were “broken” before Erasmus arrived in 2018 and turned them into world champions.
“2017 was definitely one of the toughest years in my career, losing 57-0 against the All Blacks was a low point,” Kitshoff said.
“I think back then the Springbok team was just broken. I don’t think we clicked at all, there was no synergy in the team and we didn’t know what was next, how to go forward from there.
“As a team, when Rassie came in in 2018 we focused more on playing rugby, and the importance of rugby for South Africa as a country. We started playing like old Springbok teams did and it just turned the tide of SA Rugby.”