Rassie follows Heyneke’s blueprint


Rassie Erasmus’ biggest role as high-performance manager is to implement Heyneke Meyer’s blueprint across the board, writes BRENTON CHELIN for SARugbyMag.co.za

Rassie Erasmus
Rassie Erasmus

Erasmus, widely praised for his work in turning Western Province rugby around, was spotted at the Coca-Cola Craven Week in Middelburg and SARugbymag.co.za took the chance to have a word with him. Having joined Saru as high-performance manager in April 2012, Erasmus has been working tirelessly to implement a new structure in South African rugby, building a team of coaches, analysts and medical staff who can help develop the country’s best young talent into potential Springbok candidates. Craven Week plays an integral role in this development, something that Erasmus is well aware of.

‘Firstly it’s important to give the boys the honour of representing their provinces at this high level at this stage of their career and then to see how they perform under pressure,’ says Erasmus on the role of Craven Week. ‘We have a number of people on the ground here, from our development department, high-performance, the U20 coaches, the national selectors and we’re rating the players as they play. We’re having a workshop with the players this week where we get them onto the database. We want to make sure that by the time they get to U20 level with Dawie (Theron), there’s not too much to be done.’

His role as high-performance manager is far-reaching. He oversees an expansive team all with one main goal; to implement Heyneke Meyer’s Springbok blueprint at all levels. It’s a system that has proven effective across codes, most notably with the German international football team that were recently crowned world champions. Such continuity will only help with the transition of young players into the senior ranks says Erasmus.

‘Our biggest role is to take Heyneke’s blueprint and try to filter it down to Dawie. One of the nice things about Heyneke is his willingness to share ideas with everybody. The Mobi-Unit guys, Louis Koen, Jean Roux, Pieter de Villiers work with the Springboks and have first-hand experience on Heyneke’s coaching techniques and philosophies, and Dawie uses them as well at SA U20 and at SA Schools, so all that knowledge is shared. Dawie can still make decisions on which aspects he’s going to use. At this stage he’s incorporated a lot of the stuff and it’s working really well for him, but he’s added his own flavour to the game plan. It makes it easier for a player like Handré Pollard or Pieter-Steph du Toit to move up between the ranks. So we want to take the blueprint to the SA Schools team and as far down the system as we can.’

Craven Week remains the pinnacle of schoolboy rugby, but what of the boys who aren’t selected for one reason or another? Players like Bryan Habana and Willie le Roux never represented their provinces on schoolboy rugby’s greatest stage. Erasmus was quick to stress that failure to play at the Craven Week is not the end of the line for talented youngsters.

‘You don’t want to exclude guys that don’t make the Craven Week for future Springbok selection, but obviously if you get to the Craven Week then you’ve got enough talent. We’ve got a scouting system where we look for guys that through no fault of their own don’t make the Craven Week sides, but most of the boys playing here will make up the SA U20 squad eventually.’

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Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"


  1. Ja and for all the “hak hak” clowns out there, maybe see how Heyneke Meyer is inputting his knowledge and wisdom to the collective good of South African rugby.

  2. @DavidS: No David they will be quite, it is always easy to talk about something which you do not know the full story about…

    Had an other idiot on twitter telling me that their is no transformation in the Lions new sqaud as only one black player in their.

    I quickly told him to read again and see that in fact the Lions have Victor Sekekete, Thabo Mabuza, Ramone Samuels, Vainon Willis, Anthony Volmink, Courtnall Skosan, and Lionel Mapoe, MB Lusaseni,Elton Jantjies, Fabian Booysen in the group of contract players….

    Looks like some people just look for shit in every comment they make

  3. I assume the Provincial Craven Week teams are still selected by committees in the Unions.

    The rate at which these “committees” had failed to identify future talent is a bit shocking. Players like Habana and Le Roux, who missed out on Craven Week but made it to the top anyway must just be the tip of a huge iceberg of talent that was permanently lost.

  4. @Timeo: That is unfortunately true, think Morne mentioned it yesterday. I also hear yesterday commentators at Craven Week said that current Springboks which played in the June Internationals,of them 80% came through the Craven Weeks…

  5. Quite? Why, just because we are now forcing everybody to play the stampkar bump&pray or kick&pray shyte hak hak is prioritising? His only plan is to ensure that it will be more difficult to point fingers at how great the junior teams are performing with their attacking gameplan…

  6. Yeah right. And go and look how many players the cows poach from other regions – and then regurgitate that PR crap that hak hak is a master of putting development structures in place!

  7. Timeo:
    “Players like Habana and Le Roux”
    While I’d prefer Timeo provide more grandiose & effusive reality-based acknowledgement to the revelation that MWLR (or as he’s known in those parts – the one that got away-) is…..
    He’s always quite measured so I’ll take it.
    But who knows?
    Maybe this is just the tip of the iceberg?
    Please Timeo….go on.

  8. @Bekke:

    M**r maar jy kan k*k praat Bekke :soek:

    Moet mooilik wees om Herr Meyer te haat en dan te sien how hy die beste afrigter is wat ons gehad het vanaf…Mallet? :pot:

  9. Meyer has certainly converted me to the way he sees rugby. I have always had a grudging admiration for the way his Bulls teams went about things, and during 2012 I felt he was building towards something, but could not convincing yet. Last year he served me a proper cup of stfu, and I really began to enjoy the man and his view on rugby.

    Are we there yet? Nope, still areas where improvement are needed, but then Heyneke would be the first guy to admit that. But for the first time in a long while I feel that we have someone in charge who really eat, sleep, breathe and live rugby, without the unnecessary Jake White type side shows.

  10. Pierre Spies was a completely different player back then.

    Would have loved to see some footage of Heyneke in the coaches’ box during that match!

  11. @Americano:

    Great thing is that I may now mention myself in the same sentence as Willie le Roux and Bryan Habana………

    ….the sentence may have to contain an “unlike” somewhere…….

    …but at least the possibility cannot be ruled out that I may have been part of the iceberg once….