Rassie Erasmus will continue as Stormers coach in 2010. And even defeats in the last three Super 14 games will not change that decision.
The Cape Times reports that that was the unequivocal message of support from Stormers chairman Pat Kuhn on Tuesday regarding Erasmus’s future in the Cape. The Stormers have struggled in 2009 and are languishing in 11th position on the Super 14 log, having lost seven out of 10 matches.
They narrowly avoided a whitewash on their overseas tour last Friday with a gritty 18-11 victory over the Highlanders in Dunedin. The Stormers ended fifth in the 2008 competition and were strong contenders for a semi-final at the start of 2009 but have stumbled from one defeat to another.
Kuhn and Western Province Rugby Union president Tobie Titus joined the squad for the final two weeks of the tour and when asked on Tuesday if Erasmus woulde the Stormers coach in 2010, Kuhn said: “Yes, he will.”
There has been speculation about Erasmus possibly coaching the new Eastern Cape team or even going to Europe but Kuhn said: “We can’t think now if they must lose next week, we must fire Rassie.
“Rassie has committed to turning things around and so have the players. So we can’t say that we must fire the man because of defeats in the last three games.
“Yes, we are disappointed about the losses but we can’t just hire and fire all the time. From our side, we have given our commitment and Rassie has also given his. So it is fine with us.”
Kuhn said that he had not identified any major problems within the Stormers camp during his trip that may have played a role in their poor performances this season.
“There was nothing serious that we could identify that is wrong,” he said. “Obviously here and there we picked up problems but those are problems we all have to work together to solve.
“Rassie and I chatted in depth, but it was difficult to put our finger on the actual problem.”
The Stormers lost four consecutive matches on tour and were virtually out of semi-final contention after just six games. Kuhn feels, however, that the high number of injuries played a big part in the team’s lowly position on the log.
“I understand people are upset about the disappointing results,” he said. “Sure, I also wanted us to win more games. But due to certain serious injuries we had this season – and we have about 14 or 15 players out at the moment – and now Andries Bekker is injured again. You saw the difference Andries made at the weekend. Jean de Villiers is also injured.
“Yes, there were losses before the major injuries came along but we all know that those were close defeats, by seven points or less.
“It could’ve gone either way in most of the games. It was just the bounce of the ball sometimes. Out of the seven games we’ve lost, besides really the Hurricanes game, where we were slaughtered, the rest were very close.”
Kuhn said the “spirit” in the team was one of the positives he saw and he feels that the difficult times the Stormers are experiencing currently will make them a better team in the future.
“It was nice to come back with a win. To win that game was good for the team morale and for the effort that they put in,” he said.
“I think they deserved to win at least one game on tour. They have lost seven out of 10 games but I must say, for the two weeks I was on tour the spirit among the guys was excellent. You could see the commitment on and off the field towards the management as well.
“Normally on such a long trip, you are five weeks away from home and you haven’t been playing so well, you can feel frustrated.
“But I didn’t pick up any of that. I think this tour was a good experience for the team.”Tweet