It’s been a few days since Rassie Erasmus sat down with the Daily Mail to discuss in full the British & Irish Lions series, the RasssieGate video and his subsequent ban by World Rugby, which continues up until September this year. The interview was raw and peeled back the face on what transpired in the now infamous saga. Regardless of whether or not you believe Rassie did leak the video, there was far more at play in that interview than one might realise at first glance.
Rassie Erasmus is renowned for pulling the proverbial rabbit out of the hat. He is a master mind like no other and I can almost guarantee he has pulled off another slight of hand with this interview. Rassie doesn’t do anything that isn’t properly thought through, except maybe password protecting his Vimeo account and I’m concerned he has pulled off another grand trick.
Listen, the mistake I made was not putting a password on the link. I didn't think it was necessary. I compounded that by not warning that it was confidential. So I accept and agree with World Rugby's finding that a public leak was almost inevitable.
A magician’s ploy if you will, is to have you look at what’s staring you in the face, whilst the real action or ‘trick’ is going on elsewhere, a way of misperception and misdirection to lead one astray. So whilst Rassie may have been showing the world the human side of him behind the so called “Monster” who leaked the video, I doubt this was his ultimate goal.
Rassie, whilst achieving the first aim and getting his version out there, simultaneously took the first step at softening the UK public and press up, whilst also softly introducing the notion to his massive South African contingent of die-hard supporters.
“‘I don’t think the English people would ever want me there now. Maybe I am wrong. I hope I am wrong. Would I coach another country? If my own people were cool with it and the other country’s people were cool with it then why not?” he told the Daily Mail.
“But if my own people are going to hate me for it, then I would never do it. I hate the fact that so many people hate me in rugby right now. I’m not a confrontational guy. I like to get on with people.
“South Africa has my heart but coaching England would be amazing because I think they can win. I would love to coach Ellis Genge.
In a possible move that must have Clive Woodward’s knickers in a knot, it is not implausible to see Rassie running things in England once Eddie Jones parts ways after the 2023 World Cup in France. If that is going to be the case, then Rassie and the RFU are already one step and 18 months ahead of everyone else when it comes to their thinking.
I for one would never feel comfortable watching our commander in chief don the white of England whilst singing along to ‘God save our gracious Queen’. He is the epitome of what a South African is, for the most part and it would be an incredible loss if SARU were to lose the Director of Rugby, because away from all the antics on social media, there is no better rugby brain out there.
Rassie Erasmus may be off to the UK come the end of 2023, but for now at least we can rest assured he is well on his way to plotting the Boks pathway to another title with his head coach, Jacques Nienaber.