Rugby 13.9.2017 03:21 pm

Rassie Erasmus turns on the charm before his return to SA

Rassie Erasmus, still Munster's director of rugby, has heaped praise on the Cheetahs and Kings. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images.

Rassie Erasmus, still Munster's director of rugby, has heaped praise on the Cheetahs and Kings. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images.

SA Rugby’s incoming director of rugby tells everyone there’s no need to panic over the Cheetahs and Kings’ poor start to the Pro14.

Just over three months before he returns to South Africa, Rassie Erasmus is already mending fences with local coaches.

The former Springboks flanker, who currently plots against the South African sides in the new Pro14 tournament as Munster’s head honcho, begins his new job as Saru’s director of rugby in January.

Erasmus was particularly complimentary of the role Deon Davids is playing as coach of the Kings.

It’s little wonder that’s the case as he’ll probably be quite intimately involved in the future direction of the franchise.

The Kings’ operational affairs are still managed by Saru.

“They have a really good coach in Deon Davids and also good assistant coaches,” Erasmus was quoted as saying by Irish publication The42.

“He is a guy that can build a squad really quickly.”

Erasmus believes there’s absolutely no reason for critics to be pessimistic about the value the Kings and Cheetahs will add to the Pro14 despite both sides losing their opening two games comfortably.

“There’s definitely no need for panic. When six weeks are gone people can make a fair call on that and determine whether they’re really competitive this year or not,” he said.

The Kings surprised many with an excellent Super Rugby campaign despite a slow start.

They play their first home game in the tournament against Leinster on Saturday afternoon.

“The Kings were on the back foot just purely because the decision was made so late for their inclusion. They’ve lost a lot of their players,” said Erasmus.

“It will be tough going to Port Elizabeth for teams but their squad is a bit thin in year one. Their squad has only four or five guys from Super Rugby. There will be lots of talent but getting them all to channel in the beliefs from other clubs and so on will take a little bit of time.”

The 44-year-old, a former star player for the Cheetahs, is more optimistic about his beloved team improving rapidly.

“The Cheetahs are also Currie Cup champs last year. People say they are managing two competitions, that is not really true. They focus solely on the PRO14 with their strongest team.With teams going over to Bloemfontein I have got no doubt they are going to become really, really good and this year already.”


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