‘Boks will be a top side in 2019’

Siya Kolisi in action for the Springboks
Siya Kolisi in action for the Springboks
Image: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images

The Springboks are progressing well and will be one of the top sides at the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019, Rassie Erasmus said.

The Bok coach said his charges had learnt important lessons from the bruising battles against the All Blacks and the experience would hold them in good stead.

This was Erasmus’s assessment as he looked back at Saturday’s 32-30 defeat to New Zealand at Loftus that denied SA back-to-back victories over the old enemy.

In the six Rugby Championship matches played under Erasmus this season‚ the Boks have won three and lost as many games to finish second on the standings.

The highlight of the season for the Boks came in September in Wellington when they beat New Zealand for the first time since 2009.

“I am happy with the progression and growth we are showing because we are bonding as a team and everyone understands what their roles are‚” Erasmus said.

“We manage games better and overall as a country we are starting to believe a bit more in this team because the fans are coming back to the stadiums.

“We felt this in Port Elizabeth where the stadium was packed and again in Pretoria.

“I know there will be a lot of people who will be negative after this loss but there will be those who might have seen that there is something we are working on.”

Since he took over in June‚ Erasmus has given younger players opportunities to gain experience.

“I am proud that the talent is coming through and we are close to matching a team like New Zealand because there have been one or two points difference in the last three matches we played‚” he said.

“We all have this dream that we can be the number one- or two-ranked team in the world and that can only happen if we start coaching‚ working hard and giving players a chance.”

He said he was happy that matches against the All Blacks were no longer one-sided.

“At Newlands‚ Wellington and in Pretoria‚ you went into the last minute of the match not knowing who was going to win, and that makes us proud.

“It tells me that if you do a few things right and give a few more caps‚ we will have a chance at the World Cup next year.”