Stick will add massive value to the Springboks, says Rassie Erasmus

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus. Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Rassie Erasmus outlined his plans for the coming year shortly after SA Rugby unveiled him as the new Springbok coach. He also shed some light on some of his management choices.

KweséESPN looks at some of the key issues that came out of this first press conference as Bok coach.

On juggling his responsibilities as director of rugby with the pressures of the Bok job.

"Up until I left for Munster I was actually the director of rugby for all the teams except for the Springboks. So that included the sevens, SA A, Junior Springboks and so on. So we all worked together and planned strategically, and all of that will stay the same," Erasmus said.

"We [the Boks] play 14 matches this year, and we will spend 70% of our time with the Springboks, and on the Bok planning. I think what will help in this role is that we can look at how we will manage all the players and think strategically with the Springboks being the end goal in mind.

"Yes, it's a massive job with lots of responsibility, but one that I think that I can do and which will align everybody towards the Springbok cause."

On working with the South African rugby unions

"The Mobi-Unit doesn't exist anymore -- it was dismantled when I went to Ireland. But I've got those guys back into the mix as assistant coaches: Jacques Nienaber, Pieter de Villiers and Mzwandile Stick. They have been going around to the four big franchises anyway - Bulls, Sharks, Lions and Stormers.

"We've been coaching with them... Pieter de Villiers is on tour with the Stormers currently; Jacques will probably go with the Sharks; myself and Sticks are travelling around, so we are trying to keep that going and will switch it around."

On the choice of Mzwandile Stick as an assistant coach after he was demoted to the Junior Boks after spending just a year with the Springboks.

"I know him really well, and I think he offers a specific skill. He was the Springbok Sevens captain as a player, and he's then coached the U19s at EP, in the Vodacom Cup and the Southern Kings in Super Rugby.

"I don't think he should be seen as just a backs or attack coach, but instead we'll use him in a specific role, which was the intention two years ago. That will include things like off-the-ball work rate, getting players into position early, and those sort of things that he'd have been familiar with due to his sevens background.

"I think he will add massive value."

On playing a Test Wales on the other side of the world in America, a week before the first Test of their three-match series against against England.

"We will have to test some players that we might use next year somewhere. So I guess those two Test matches will be one of those windows. I still have to go through [SA Rugby] leadership to make sure we follow the necessary protocol but that will be one of the requests, to see where we can test some players.

"It will be foolish to think that one squad of 23 or 26 can go and play there [in Washington DC], fly back [to South Africa] and remain competitive against England. So it might be a bit of a combination, it might be two squads, it might be some of the reserves playing in both squads.

"I know it looks a bit like suicide from the outside, but it means we have an extra Test match before the World Cup that we can use to prepare for the tournament.'Obviously, we will have to win the match [against Wales]. We will have to juggle a bit and be creative because in seven days' time we are playing England at altitude at Ellis Park, but our plans are in place."