Rugby World Cup 2019: The Cup 19 Podcast - Episode Two

When Rassie Erasmus was unveiled as the Springboks' coach in March 2018, he stated that he could make South Africa competitive at the 2019 World Cup and potentially improve on the bronze medal they won in 2015.

At the time, it came across as a bold statement following two dismal years under Allister Coetzee who lost 12 of his 25 tests in charge, one of those losses was a record-breaking 57-0 defeat to the All Blacks. 

They were also at the lowest-ever world ranking in seventh place, but so far Erasmus has lived up to his word in making the Springboks more competitive, months out from the World Cup. 

In his debut year, Erasmus led the Springboks to second in the Rugby Championship, the highest they have been since 2014, which included a stunning 36-34 win over the All Blacks in Wellington - South Africa's first Rugby Championship win in New Zealand since 2009.

Former South African halfback Kevin Putt believes that Erasmus has helped install belief in the playing group which has made them more competitive on and off the field. 

In the second episode of The Cup 19 podcast, host Ollie Ritchie spoke to Putt who feels Erasmus has similar qualities to Kitch Christie, who coached the Springboks to World Cup glory in 1995. 

"Rassie is a sage character, he's really funny, has high expectations and clever," said Putt.

"The last person that had like that was Kitch Christie who put it in the players' hands but was also sensible, and he won a World Cup. 

"People don't understand what the Boks have to do to put a squad together. New Zealand Rugby has all the players contracted, while the Boks are pulling players from South Africa, England and Japan then bringing them together. 

"The squad hasn't been together that's why somebody like Rassie is essential. These guys don't play week in, week out like they do in New Zealand.

"I like what they're doing. They're bringing through several players, giving them opportunities at the top level. This is a team built on merit."  

The Springboks are scheduled to face the All Blacks in their opening Rugby World Cup game on September 21 in Yokohama, but before then, the two nations will collide on Saturday in Wellington. 

Putt feels that if the Springboks can win, that will serve them well ahead of that World Cup showdown.

"If the Springboks were to win, that could put some doubt in the All Blacks, and that to me would be a knock," he said on The Cup 19 podcast.

"If you can come twice into our backyard and give us a down-trou, then that's a possibility that people and players start to doubt and that could have some degree of strength to it. 

"If the All Blacks go on to win by 15, there will be disappointed players in the Boks, but it wouldn't be the end of the world. It is a win-loss situation for the All Blacks - they have to go out and perform."  

Rugby World Cup 2019: The Cup 19 Podcast - Episode Two

For more on Erasmus' influence on the Springboks, along with a review of the All Blacks' 20-16 win over Argentina, listen to the full episode here. 

Previously on The Cup '19 podcast


The kick-off

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