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Rugby World Cup 2019: Erasmus confirms departure from Springboks coaching role to follow final

Rassie Erasmus will not continue as South Africa coach after the Rugby World Cup final showdown with England, he has confirmed.

The Springboks – who are hunting their third world title – face Eddie Jones’ side in Yokohama on Saturday, after respective semi-final victories over Wales and New Zealand.

Erasmus has been working in the dual role of coach and director of rugby since early 2018, but he suggested in December last year he would step down from the former position following the World Cup.

Despite overseeing a hugely successful year in which South Africa won the Rugby Championship and reached the World Cup final in Japan, Erasmus’ stance on his future has not altered.

The 47-year-old is set to continue in his directorial post, however.

“It’s probably my last Test match. It is my last Test match of being head coach,” Erasmus told reporters on Thursday. “It’s an emotional one. I didn’t think 25 Tests would go that quickly.

“When I came back from Munster, I thought it would be more about focusing on my family as well as thinking more strategically in terms of helping the schoolboys, helping the sevens, and helping the Bok coach.

“When you become the Bok coach, you become more hands-on, your adrenaline starts pumping and you really become part of it. It’s wonderful to be here. It’s sad that there are only three days and then it’s all over.”

Erasmus says his time as coach has given him greater optimism for rugby in South Africa going forwards, as the Springboks bid to become the first team to do the Rugby Championship-World Cup double.

“I will still be heavily involved whatever way we go in terms of the next Bok coach. I must say, just being the coach gave me such hope again for South African rugby,” he added.

“Two years ago, everybody was talking about this hope thing, but I was like, ‘Let’s just focus on the rugby’. I’ve changed my mind. If we play with passion and people see it, it can help them forget about their problems.

“We have to use this platform. No matter what happens on Saturday, we have to use what we’ve built to take us forward in the next six or seven years.

“The only failure would be not pitching up and giving it absolutely everything. We said that when we win, people will start supporting us again, talking about us again, helping us with team selections and so on.

“We want that criticism. That’s when you know South Africans care again. We knew it would be a process and that we would have to take some risks along the road to get where we wanted to go. We knew that the expectations would grow.”

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