Rassie Erasmus. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/DUIF DU TOIT
Rassie Erasmus. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/DUIF DU TOIT
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Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus vowed to make brave decisions and Saturday’s 23-12 series-clinching win over England will serve to embolden the coach on his path to building a World Cup squad.

The second Test win reduced this Saturday’s third and final Test in Cape Town to the realm of dead rubber.

With the series wrapped up, Erasmus will have the licence to extend playing opportunity to men who have played a peripheral role in the series.

"It is nice to have the series wrapped up. Next week we will try and win three-nil. Next week we will try a few new things; put different guys under different pressure. We are breathing easier," he said.

His selection policy would remain rooted in rationality.

"We want to make decisions so we can put a 31-man World Cup squad together. If you want to build a squad you have to try a few things. We have to learn that in the next couple of months.

"Next week [this Saturday] we have the opportunity to try a few new things. It doesn’t make that Test less important but we must build depth and experience," said Erasmus.

Erasmus era

It is early days in the Erasmus era, but there seems to be a sense of direction in the Bok ranks. Previous Bok coaches have struggled to build capacity, while keeping their heads above water. Most of them reverted to the tried and tested in the game plan and selection. Already, England coach Eddie Jones has seen a transformation in the green and gold in certain areas.

"Selection is one thing. They have a very clear way of how they want to play and they are executing it well.

"Everyone was giving Allister Coetzee stick for picking young players. Some of those young players are now coming through," he said.

"They are playing very traditional Bok rugby," Jones said.

Erasmus lauded the character shown by his team thus far in the Test series. In both Tests they had to overcome slow starts and wear down England, leaving the tourists to chase the game in the final quarter.

"There is a lot of things that went wrong but the guys showed character. It showed we can come back from record margins down. What the guys experienced last week and this week will only help them in the future," Erasmus said.

It helped that experienced players in the spine of the team who now ply their trade abroad, such as Duane Vermeulen, Faf de Klerk and Willie le Roux, proved influential.

"He will always bring experience," said Erasmus of Vermeulen. "Willie too. Duane has played some very accurate rugby. He looks sharp and he’s running great lines. He’s over the ball," he said.

"He works with Siya [Kolisi] on the game plan and the decision making. You get guys like this who contribute a lot off the field and then you get some who also contribute phenomenally on the field. We are very blessed to have guys like that."

He also praised his team’s discipline in the series in which they have conceded just 12 penalties thus far.

"We need to treat players like adults. If you treat them like adults off the field they will make adult decisions on it.

"Our motto is to use common sense. That flows into the game. It is great when the guys bring the discipline off the field onto the field."

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