Rugby World Cup 2019: Rassie Erasmus to step down as Springboks coach after final

Rassie Erasmus has confirmed that Saturday's World Cup final against England in Yokohama will be his last as Springbok head coach.

Erasmus has held the post since early 2018, while also acting as the nation's director of rugby, a role he will continue to perform post-Japan 2019.

There has been speculation over whether or not he would continue beyond the World Cup and potentially coach the team during the British & Irish Lions tour in 2021.

But on Thursday, Erasmus confirmed he would step down. Defence coach Jacques Nienaber has been heavily touted to be Erasmus' successor.

"For me, it's an emotional one in the sense that I didn't think 25 test matches will go that quickly," Erasmus said.

"The moment you get hands-on with the Springboks again, the adrenalin starts pumping and you get back into the mould, and it's a totally different feeling.

"It's wonderful to be here. It's sad that there are only three days left and then it's all over.

Rugby World Cup 2019: Rassie Erasmus to step down as Springboks coach after final

Erasmus admits he is converted to the idea that rugby can be a unifying force for South Africa, as he targets the nation's third world title by defeating Eddie Jones' favourites in Yokohama.

"I must say, me being involved again gives me such hope for what rugby can do for the country," he said.

"I was one of those guys, three years ago, who said, 'let's just play boys, let's just play. Stop talking about this hope thing that everybody's talking about - rugby is rugby, so let's just play'.

"But I've changed my mind. I believe if we play the right way and with passion, which people can see, it just helps people forget about their problems and agree with things."

Star wing Cheslin Kolbe replaces Sbu Nkosi on the right-wing, after recovering from the ankle injury that forced him to miss the 19-16 semi-final victory over Wales in the only change to the starting XV.

"Obviously, we were a bit nervous when we lost Cheslin for the semi-final," Erasmus said.

"Cheslin is world-class. He's shown that whenever he has played for us, no matter if he slotted in at 15 or played wing.

"Everybody knows that he's got that X-factor and against England, with the way they defend, that's something we will definitely need."

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Join us at 10pm Saturday for live updates South Africa v England Rugby World Cup final. 

AAP

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