It may have been a twitter post on his parody account that planted the seed but Rassie Erasmus is a fan of exciting new Lions winger Aphiwe Dyantyi – in real life too.
The new Springbok coach chuckled on Thursday after it was pointed out to him that he “name-dropped” the 23-year-old prospect on social media.
“Twitter? How does that work,” Erasmus said with a broad smile.
But he really is serious about the potential of Dyantyi, who’s nimble attacking skills has been an early highlight of this year’s Super Rugby campaign.
“I really want to break the mould of us not talking about players,” said Erasmus.
“I’m really excited about him. We have a whole selection process with selection committees to go through when we pick a Springbok side. But I would be stupid to say he’s not exciting.”
Notably, the 45-year-old – who will juggle the Bok coaching job with his responsibilities as SA Rugby’s director of rugby – mentioned how there’s far more strings to Dyantyi’s bow than just scoring sensational tries.
“Aphiwe’s aerial skills are good. He showed real skill at the breakdowns and we all know that he attacks well,” said Erasmus.
“We’ll see how he does when he faces a few big challenges on defence but I’d really be lying if I said I haven’t taken notice of him. There’s still a lot ahead for him, like playing away and overseas. But if Aphiwe gets through that, he’s going to be a massively good player. And then I will definitely look at him.”
Talking of promising young black players, Erasmus also reiterated his commitment towards transformation.
His predecessor, Allister Coetzee, was eventually heavily criticised for a perceived lack of representation in his teams.
“I’ve been in South African rugby since the inception of professionalism in 1995. I understand the issue. I know the battles that goes with it and I know the targets. After all, I signed a contract,” said Erasmus.
“I’m up for that. I’m ready to hit those targets.”