‘The difference between us and others’: Erasmus’ Bok ‘transformation’


With two World Cups to his name now, one as head coach and one as director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus is already being heralded as one of, if not the best coach in rugby’s history.

It is clear to see that the 51-year-old has revolutionised South African rugby, but it is harder to know exactly how he has achieved that. But his captain Siya Kolisi recently gave an insight into what Erasmus did behind the scenes after becoming director of rugby in 2017, and later head coach, which made the Boks the force they currently are.

Speaking recently to Jim Hamilton on RugbyPass TV’s The Big Jim Show, the double World Cup winning captain explained what makes the Springboks different to other teams and how Erasmus transformed the team, starting with making Kolisi captain in 2018. The 32-year-old shed some light on the culture that Erasmus has created- where the team is more important than the individual, and, more importantly, how they do not forget who they are representing.

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Siya Kolisi and Jim Hamilton in Paris | preview | RPTV

Jim Hamilton visited Siya Kolisi at his new club in Paris, Racing 92, for an in depth chat about life since the 2023 RWC final. Watch the full chat for free on RugbyPass.TV

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“People don’t speak enough about him and they don’t get him. We get him,” Kolisi said of his head coach.

“He started talking about the country and how things were in the past.

“How transformation is important and if we’re to win, we have to transform, we need squad depth. He started talking about transformation whereas in the past it was a hidden thing.

“He’s up front with the players. The Springboks were different in the old days and we’re going to give opportunities to people to try and make this South Africa team look more diverse.

“He reminds us sometimes when we complain or when we lose motivation, he’s like ‘remember what’s going on in the country, you are the one percent, you do what you love. Don’t forget where you come from. Think about that boy, the young Siya that’s out there, when you want to give up.’

“He calls it out when you get big-headed, my teammates too. That’s what’s great about our team.

“When guys get subbed – I get subbed at 45 minutes sometimes – and I know why. Because I’m not as effective as I usually am. Then Kwagga [Smith] will come in and they win the game. It doesn’t mean I like it, but I’m comfortable enough to know the team is more important. I think that was the difference between us and others.

“Some players would get pissed off when they’re subbed off early. But we’ve had hard conversations as a group. That’s what I really enjoy, when we have honest and serious conversations. You get hurt, but you don’t take it to heart, you move on the next day.”





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