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Three years after World Cup triumph, Rassie Erasmus says Springboks not living in past

Three years after World Cup triumph, Rassie Erasmus says Springboks not living in past

Johannesburg — This Wednesday marked three years to the day that the Boks beat England in the World Cup final but while South African fans were reminiscing, Bok boss Rassie Erasmus made it very clear from Dublin that the Boks have moved on and are more concerned with France 2023.

The SA Director of Rugby is clearly thriving at being back with his beloved Boks after a year of suspension — Saturday will mark the first time he has been at a Bok match this year — and he said his team is not living in the past and are determined to defend their crown.

“Winning the World Cup was wonderful in 2019, it was great, but the bragging rights are over and we are on to the next World Cup,” Erasmus said. “The focus is now on what is around the corner and we can see it is going to be a very closely contested World Cup — we saw how Scotland pushed Australia last week and could have won if that last-minute kick had gone over.

“What we have to do now is win these four tour games and go into the World Cup year with momentum, and it would be great to start with beating Ireland on Saturday — I have never been on the winning side in Dublin since I became a coach, not with the Springboks and not when I coached Munster (2016 and 2017).

“I watched the Boks get a proper hiding here in 2017 when they got 38-3, so yes, the last time I was with a winning Springbok team in Dublin was when I was a player (back in the late 90s)!”

Erasmus was asked if he would be at the pitch side on Saturday but with a smile, he said that he had retired as a water boy.

“It was within the protocols and the laws to be a water carrier, but I will be in the coach's box with the coaches on Saturday,” he laughed. “I love match days, I like mixing with the guys in the change room — it was not nice to be away from the guys as they get ready for the battle.

“You spend time with them during the week but then on game day, when it matters most, you have to go back to your hotel room. That is not lekker.

“I love rugby, I love South Africa and it is so nice to be back.”

Erasmus was pressed on the legacy the Boks had renewed in 2019 when their triumph added to those of 2007 and 1995.

“In 1995, I was a fan, in 2007 I had been part of the squad until they got on the plane and Eddie Jones joined them,” he said. “So until 2019, I had never experienced first-hand what a World Cup win does for South Africa.

“It is so important for us to win because we need the resources that it creates. We must fight as hard as we can, internally and externally, for the 62 million people in our country and especially for the 11 million who are fanatical rugby people. We love to give them something to cheer about.”

@MikeGreenaway67

IOL Sport

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