Rassie’s new approach

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Stormers, Super 14 on 13 Feb 2008 at 05:30

Johan Erasmus is a man who knows how to get the best out of those around him.

The former Free State and SA loose forward was known to be a deep thinker and master tactician in his playing days. Even back in the early days of professionalism, Rassie was known to spend his evenings in his room, using his laptop to analyse the opposition, rather than drinking up a storm with his teammates.

His approach to coaching is no less methodical and no less scientific. In an age where innovation is scarce at the highest levels of the game, Rassie Erasmus sticks out like a sore thumb. His patent “rotate-a-prop” technique and his innovative “Bloemfontein disco-light” signaling system as just two of his better-known inventions. Both have flouted the laws to an extent; both have met with some success.

So Rassie is now in charge in Cape Town and if ever a team was in need of the proverbial “breath of fresh air”, the Stormers are that team. Too long the once-giant of South African domestic rugby has been content to rest on its laurels and ruminate on the memories of past glory. Too long have the pay packets, the fast cars and faster women (giving them the benefit of the doubt here!) taken precedence over good performances. In the recently-quoted words of another provincial coach (I think it might be the Kiwi), “Mate, when I think of the Stormers, all I see is a bunch of soft c**ts!”

Rassie has a lot of work to do to turn that perception around. You don’t turn softies into hard bastards overnight and running an eye over the Stormers squad, there’s not a huge amount of the sort of beef in the tight five that would get Rassie worked up. Ok, that just sounded sick, but you know what I mean! At least he has brought in a good tight head in Mujati and a promising young hard lock in Fondse. Schalk Burger is worth three normal men anyway which means you can commit more of your loose forwards to the tight exchanges and still be ok! So, there is probably enough to work with in the meantime that hopefully, given Rassie’s magic touch and a bit of old-fashioned discipline, we should hopefully see more fire from the Cape Town pack than we have in a while.

To my mind, though, the most positive change that Rassie seems set to make is that of making the players accept accountability for their actions. Already this week he has banned the guys from mouthing off in the press – a very positive sign and pretty significant change for a team that has, let’s be honest, done most of their talking off the field over the last few years. It is rumoured that the Straueli-inspired turnaround at the Sharks began with a very similar message. Don’t take the money unless you’re willing to give your all on the field and don’t let me see you in this office again, you understand? That sort of thing. Worked like a charm.

The flash playboy image has to go, but managing this process in such a way that he does not stifle the natural creativity and flair that is a hallmark of the Stormers game is going to be a huge challenge for Rassie. The disco-lights won’t work in Cape Town and he has selected possibly the biggest playboy of them all, the poster-child of the hedonistic Stormers culture, as his captain. Is there method to his madness? Or is he destined to be hit by more of the “fok die ligte, kom ons speel die game” (fuck the lights, let’s just play the game) attitude that marred his final days in Bloemfontein?

Only time will tell. In my opinion, Rassie is the best thing that could possibly have happened to Western Cape rugby right now. Let’s just hope they give him the support he needs.


  • Johan?

    I didn’t know that.

  • Comment 1, posted at 13.02.08 05:39:36 by KSA Shark Β© Reply
    KSA Shark Β©
  • You are not serious KSA 😯

  • Comment 2, posted at 13.02.08 07:56:35 by provincejoulekkading Reply
  • A very good read Rob. Well done.

    I think the ‘playboy image’ started when we had guys like Percy, Skinstad and Fleckie in the side.


  • Comment 3, posted at 13.02.08 08:18:28 by wpw Reply
  • Francois Louw is gonna have a cracking season!

    You read it here first, on Sharksworld. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 4, posted at 13.02.08 08:21:56 by wpw Reply
  • I still maintain Rassie will be the first to use the 15 man line-out this season… 😯 πŸ˜†

  • Comment 5, posted at 13.02.08 09:11:20 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • Luke to catch it at the back!

  • Comment 6, posted at 13.02.08 09:13:10 by provincejoulekkading Reply
  • “Already this week he has banned the guys from mouthing off in the press – a very positive sign” – The journos meanwhile are pulling their hair out trying to get interviews.

    You can treat players like children, or adults. Obviously Rassie doesn’t believe his team have passed the adolescent stage.

  • Comment 7, posted at 13.02.08 09:17:00 by hellbent Reply

  • Aparently against the Sharks, the Cheetahs were still using coloured boards to tell the players what moves to make. I think Naka is simply living off Johan’s success and it won’t be long before they come a cropper. Putt did the same off what Straeuli had started.

  • Comment 8, posted at 13.02.08 09:18:54 by hellbent Reply

  • hb – do you think he’s wrong?

  • Comment 9, posted at 13.02.08 09:19:26 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • “Obviously Rassie doesn’t believe his team have passed the adolescent stage.”

    I think Wes, PJLD, Sauce and the rest of the fans probably agree…

  • Comment 10, posted at 13.02.08 09:46:02 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • Hedonistic Stormers culture – what the hell do you guys know that we don’t? 😯

    I also think that Rassie will be good for the Stormers but then the decadent hedonists 😈 will have to buy into his views of things completely and for the long run. Sulking will not be an option. Ultimately this will either be a very successful or a very hurtful relationship – the emphasis being on the very.

    Is there any truth in the rumour that, instead of the lights, Rassie has secured a sponsorship from Temptations to wave their G-strings and panties around as the new signaling system.

  • Comment 11, posted at 13.02.08 09:47:01 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Salmonoid I heard it was Teazer’s…

  • Comment 12, posted at 13.02.08 09:52:13 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • Rassie is the best thing that could have happened to WP and Stormers rugby.

    Now if only we can sort out the useless administrators.


  • Comment 13, posted at 13.02.08 09:54:24 by wpw Reply
  • Getting the teazers girls in to wave their g-strings around would be a huge coup if you ask me 😎 πŸ˜›

  • Comment 14, posted at 13.02.08 10:00:32 by provincejoulekkading Reply
  • Rob, time will tell, I don’t like to be a doomsday prophet or write a team or coach off before they have a chance to prove me right or wrong – I think that’s only fair.

    But my assumptions of a lack of success stem from the belief that Rassie’s strict structured approach of getting the guys to play EXACTLY as he has planned it won’t work in CT.

    He is revered in Bloem, has an astute rugby brain, but you have to have the right players to implement that style of rugby. Imagine the Cheetahs under Dick and being told to play the game as they see it.

    Can you see lookX, JeanDV, Schalk Britz etc all having to play conservatively?

    It’s like Slaptjips trying to teach the Bulls backline how to score tries….

  • Comment 15, posted at 13.02.08 10:08:30 by hellbent Reply

  • provincejoulekkading
    I havent seen their girls but will take your word for it.

  • Comment 16, posted at 13.02.08 10:08:40 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • robdylan, we need a smiley with a looong tongue hanging out of his mouth (in the class of Bob Skinstad) – you can call it drool if you want.

  • Comment 17, posted at 13.02.08 10:12:03 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • does it need to have a diamond stud in it?

  • Comment 18, posted at 13.02.08 10:27:23 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Good start by Rassie before round 1 havent even started. He’ll have to get the Slaapstad press sorted out , pick the right captain and if you looked at the squad he picked for George and saw the names like Dewald Duvenhage, now getting de Jongh from the 7s and a few club players around, you’ll know the man did his homework of getting the best talent. Agree with wpw and are excited as hell to see youngsters Louw and Myburgh, Conrad Hoffman getting the S14 nod. Think the Stormers have a wealth of youth team backup now and if the top team start winning a good time around the corner.

  • Comment 19, posted at 13.02.08 10:28:31 by PaarlBok Reply

  • Hey HB…any change is a good change with the cellar-dwellers!

  • Comment 20, posted at 13.02.08 10:29:21 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • Its the dwelling in the cellars that have been the problem.

  • Comment 21, posted at 13.02.08 10:43:03 by Salmonoid Reply
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