Rassie Erasmus. Picture: ALON SKUY
Rassie Erasmus. Picture: ALON SKUY

Bryan Habana has urged SA Rugby to appoint outgoing Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus’s replacement as soon as possible so that the new mentor can start planning for next season.

Erasmus announced a few weeks ago that he would step down as head coach to focus on his role as director of rugby at SA Rugby. Given  that the Springboks play Scotland and Georgia in home Tests in July 2020, to be followed by the Rugby Championships‚ Habana said preparations must start as soon as possible. 

“Whoever the coach is going to be must be appointed as early as possible‚ unlike Allister Coetzee, who was appointed a couple of weeks before his first Test‚” said the former Springbok wing.

“I don’t know what Rassie’s thinking is about the new coach but one hopes that whoever gets the job is given the same type of alignment he got.

“If that happens‚ he [Erasmus] has shown what happens when there is alignment from the top all the way down.

“It is not my place to say who the next coach must be, but you have SA coaches who are doing very well overseas and there are those that are doing well here at home,” Habana said.

Super Rugby starts at the end of January, and Habana said it would be ideal for the new coach to use the tournament to scout for new players before the world champions return to action in the middle of the year.

“Players in Super Rugby are going to put their hands up‚” he said. “And there is going to be a new intake of players who will get opportunities to represent their franchises and who will want to be considered for the Springboks.” 

“The northern hemisphere season goes on until the beginning of June and trying to keep those players fit for another month is going to be a massive challenge for whoever is going to take over.

“There is so much that is going to happen in the next nine months or so before we see a Scotland team arrive in SA.

“Super Rugby is a good opportunity for players to show what they can do,” Habana said.

“Someone like Pieter-Steph du Toit‚ who has been one of the most consistent players in the world recently‚ and Siya Kolisi will want to use the opportunity to go to bigger and better things.

“A lot of them will have an eye on the British and Irish Lions series in 2021 and they are going to have to be consistent so that they are part of that squad.”